Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang delivered his final State of the City Address Tuesday, highlighting the city's finances, high-performing schools and support for the business community.
Before a filled-to-capacity City Council Chambers, the mayor pointed out the city's emergence from the recession though the strategic use of a "rainy day" reserve fund and the decisions not to make cuts in services or lay off city employees among the most notable achievements in the last year.
"I stand here tonight to remind you of our resilience," Kang said. "The city's solid foundation, built upon 40 years of impeccable planning, innovation and inspiration, has pulled us through the worst of times, unlike so many other cities and agencies that survived only by reducing services at a time when people need those services most."
A budget surplus last year, partly due to an increase in sales tax revenue, allowed the city to replenish that reserve fund to about $20 million.
"So, together, we are continuing to make our streets safer to travel, graduating the brightest students, producing state-of-the-art technology, and building the best of homes," Kang continued.
He also lauded the recent groundbreaking of the Great Park Neighborhoods, a nearly 5,000-home project ringing the Great Park; the October expansion of the city's private shuttle service, the iShuttle; and the city's consistent safety rankings, according to national FBI statistics.
"I think that he gave very good presentation," said Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Beth Krom. "I would think that any citizen watching from home would have been very pleased and proud of our city after listening to him."
However, while Councilman Jeffrey Lalloway said he was pleased that the mayor recognized prominent business partners and schools, the speech could have gone further.
"I would have liked to have seen any peek at a policy that would be a priority in the coming year," said Lalloway, who did not specify what issue he wanted addressed.
The roughly 40-minute speech concluded with Kang thanking those who live and work in Irvine and pledging to continue working to serve the city through the end of his term this year.
"My journey as mayor has been one of the one rewarding experiences of my life," Kang said. "...The thousands of people that I have met on this road have one common goal: to do what they believe is best for Irvine."