City Adopts Fiscal Year 2019-21 Budget, Great Park Balloon Not Grounded (Yet) and Displaying Flags

Mayor Christina Shea
Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Kuo
Council-member Melissa Fox
Council-member Farrah Khan
Council-member Mike Carroll

It was a five-hour marathon at the special joint meeting of the City Council and Great Park Board of Directors held on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. The agenda item that attracted a crowd of over 25 public speakers (most of who spoke in support of the motion) was an item sponsored by Council-member Fox, Agenda Item 6.3 to “adopt resolutions and establish policies for the display of flags, including the Pride flag at City Hall.”

This motion failed to pass as a majority of the City Council believes that only flags that represent everyone and every group (Old Glory, the California Flag, and the City Flag) should be flown at City Hall.

The council adopted the City budget for fiscal year 2019-21. The entire Council complimented city staff for a fantastic job putting together a two-year budget and noted the months of work that included community outreach meetings, so that residents could fully participate in the budget process.

Public Comments

  • Should the Assistant City Manager get an increase in salary? Especially in light of the rest of our city staff receiving zero increases in pay while reducing staff positions, causing undue hardship on current staffing levels?
  • Earlier this year our City Manager, John Russo, attempted to cut $1 million from our public schools. Thanks to the strong public outcry, they came up with Plan B: take $1M out of our Great Park Fund. A resident asked that we keep the money in the Great Park Fund for use in the Great Park as originally intended, and instead take the $1M out of our “rainy day” contingency fund which can be replenished in time.
  • The City Manager and Executive Director of the Great Park positions have been combined into one to save costs. But is that best when each position has high demands? Will the planning and oversight of the Great Park suffer as a result?
  • Irvine receives State Settlement funds. It was requested that the money be used only for Great Park related expenses and to spend wisely. It was also suggested that the city post the financial statements of the settlement funds on a public portal for transparency.
  • There was a request for additional shade structures at one of our existing community parks in this year’s Capital Improvement Budget.
  • A resident requested that the Great Park carousel fees be removed and make the rides free again.

Great Park Icon – Orange Balloon

City management was tasked with making every effort to find sponsors for the Great Park balloon so to avoid grounding it due to cost factors.

Irvine Adult Day Health Services

The proposed $20,000 reduction from the city for operating support for this local non-profit was reinstated in the budget.


The $10,000 line item for “galas” will no longer be funded.