By Tomoya Shimura
Known across the country and even the world for its public schools and safety, Irvine has another item on the list of things to boast about: Financial health.
The city finished fiscal 2015-16 with a $12.3 million general fund surplus, according to a year-end report presented to the City Council on Tuesday. The city has about $41 million in its reserves, or 21.7 percent of the budget.
As a result, Irvine was recently ranked No. 1 in fiscal strength among 116 American cities with a population of more than 200,000, according to the Fiscal Health Index compiled by Marc Joffe, director of policy research for the California Policy Center.
“The obvious thing is, we’re in a very good shape,” newly elected Mayor Don Wagner said. “Our job is to responsibly manage what the previous council and the staff left for us.”
Joffe ranked the cities based on the ratio of a city’s general fund balance to its expenditures; the ratio of its long-term obligations to revenues; the ratio of pension contributions to revenues; change in local unemployment rate; and change in property values.
The top six cities – Irvine, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana and Glendale – are all in California, followed by Boston, Fayetteville, N.C., Washington, D.C. and Boise, Idaho.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tomoya Shimura / Orange County Register