The originally publicized agenda for the April 27th Irvine City Council meeting included a discussion item regarding how the City plans to spend the $53 million in federal funding allocated to Irvine as part of the Biden Administration’s post-pandemic American Rescue Plan Act.  (That agenda item has now been removed, so the discussion will presumably take place at a future Council meeting, perhaps in May.)

According to a memo linked to the original agenda item, City staff is recommending that the bulk of the $53 million be spent on improvements to Heritage Community Park ($42 million).  The remaining $11 million would be spent on enhancing City playground facilities, making improvements to City Hall, expanding the rental assistance program, investing in the One Irvine program, hiring a consultant to study municipal broadband solutions, waiving business licensing fees, and providing bonuses to City staff.

The City’s memo included an attachment with alternative suggestions from Councilman Larry Agran as to how Irvine should allocate the $53 million to help the City recover from the damage and hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After surveying the community, consulting with experts across the City and County, and collaborating with his team of commissioners and appointees, Agran released nine recommendations for how the federal funds should be allocated.  Agran introduced his recommendations this way: “In Irvine, and elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed institutional gaps and deficiencies in our municipal government that require immediate and sustained attention if we are to ultimately Build Back Better — the slogan of the Biden administration — in the aftermath of the pandemic.”

When asked for comment, Agran stated: “The City of Irvine is receiving $53 million in federal funding which offers us an important opportunity to make life better for our residents, restore our small businesses, and put us in a better position to take on the other big challenges of our time: the growing gap between rich and poor and the climate crisis.”

Agran continued: “The suggestions I am putting forward for our City include $10 million to support affordable housing, $10 million for climate action, $6 million to improve our public health capacity, and another $20 million to help our local schools, expand child care assistance, support our small businesses, and restore and expand services for our seniors.”

Irvine Community News & Views will keep our readers updated on how the City Council ultimately chooses to allocate the $53 million.