Irvine receives top award for strong budgeting

by TOMOYA SHIMURA

Irvine has a new addition to its vast collection of national accolades: This time, for how well the city government is run.

The city recently received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. The award recognizes municipalities with an effective budget, which is their financial plan.

“I’m not surprised the city received the award because our budget team has continued to do a great job including through the current budget cycle,” Mayor Don Wagner said. “We are in a good situation with things like our property values and sales tax revenue.”

“We are a fiscally very well-managed city, which helps give us stability,” he added. “We are able to plan what we are going to have available to put into our parks, public safety and traffic mitigation.”

The award recipients must meet guidelines on how well their budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications tool.

In addition to the national award, Irvine received the Excellence Award for Fiscal Year 2018–19 Operating Budget from the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers.

Irvine has also been named the most fiscally sound city in America by the Fiscal Times.

“We lay awake at night making sure things are going well so that our residents don’t have to lay awake at night wondering whether their dollars are being managed wisely,” Wagner said.

The City Council has recently adopted a two-year budget cycle, up from one year, with a five-year financial planning program. The changes are expected to increase transparency and give residents more opportunity for input into the budget.

“It helps us take a better long-term view of the needs of the city and the solutions to the city’s problems,” Wagner said.