ORANGE COUNTY, CA-A key government agency will meet this week to begin the final phase of Newport Beach’s efforts to annex Newport Coast, a collection of toney communities in the unincorporated area with a total of about 7,000 residents.

The Wednesday hearing will be the first held by the full Local Agency Formation Commission, the government entity that must approval all annexations. LAFCO’s staff has already given the annexation its approval.

Few opponents have challenged the plan. Supporters say it would result in better municipal services at lower cost for current Newport Coast residents, while Newport Beach would collect an additional $2 million a year in tax revenue if the takeover is allowed to move forward.

Approval by LAFCO would allow the annexation to be completed early next year, unless 25% of local registered voters sign a petition to call for a public vote on the issue. No such petition has been started, Newport Beach officials say.

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