News item: At its meeting starting at 4 p.m. today, the Irvine City Council will discuss what to do with a $9.3 million surplus.
It's a “problem” other city councils wish they were facing, and it's nothing new for Irvine, which the previous fiscal year “wrestled” with a $14.4 million surplus.
Which was a fiscal year after cops in “America's Safest City” were told there was no money for raises.
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The council had been under the impression it would be reeling from a $7 million shortfall in its $136 million 2011-2012 budget, but unexpected revenues, unspent money that had been budgeted and rollover from the previous surplus produced the windfall, reports the Daily Pilot.
So does anyone else recall the holler three years ago when the council majority of Beth Krom, Larry Agran and now lameduck Mayor Sukhee Kang were crying poor when it came to pay raises for an Irvine police force that has helped create America's Safest City?
You know, the same America's Safest City the three of them constantly take credit for fostering?
The Irvine Police Association, which during 2009 contract negotiations represented 190 of the department's 203 employees and the fifth highest paid cops in the county, naturally felt it was owed a little sumptin'-sumptin' for making city streets so safe. But an Agran-led council majority took a hard line, offering the same wage freeze imposed on other city workers. The cop union claimed at the time that when they sought to extend negotiations passed a deadline, Agran pulled the kind of dirty tricks that just cost him the mayor's election.
The city and union agreed on a three-year contract in the summer of 2010 that imposed wage freezes. And don't worry, crime-iny fans, sending a little more honey cops' way is still not an option before the council. According to the Pilot, the council today will consider boosting the city's reserve fund, infrastructure repairs and improvements to the civic center with the surplus.
Better luck next time, coppers.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.