In a recent OC Watchdog column, the City of Irvine is not quite in the financial dire straights that Christina Shea and Steven Choi (or Stephen Smith of the dead-in-the-water Irvine Tattler) would have you believe.
Irvine, unlike the U.S. government, is sitting on a pretty pot of money that promises to allow it to sail rather smoothly through this gathering economic storm.
Lots of money. Like, cash and investments of nearly $1 billion.
more after the jump:
According to the cityâ€™s most recent comprehensive audit (a new one is due out soon):
- Irvineâ€™s governmental fundsÂ had a total combined endingÂ balance of $710.5 million.
- About 57 percent of that – $407.3 million – is in an unreserved fund, which means much of itÂ can be spent at the cityâ€™s discretion*.
- The remainder – $303.2 million – is already spoken for (for infrastructure improvements, debt service, etc.).
Additionally, the column reported:
And the cityâ€™s generalÂ fund – think of it as theÂ checking account used to pay for basic, day-to-day operations – had a reserve of $117.8 million. Thatâ€™s 77 percent of what it spends in a year. (The state likes cities to have at least 5.5 percent, soÂ IrvineÂ apparently wins the gold starÂ there.)
(New Irvine Mayor Suhkee) Kang was a big advocate forÂ building a higher rainy-day reserve into the cityâ€™s budget (nearly tripling it fromÂ 5.5 percentÂ to 16Â percentÂ over the last three years – a result, he says, of hisÂ career inÂ businessÂ at Circuit City).