You no doubt are aware of the poor road conditions here in Fullerton. These road conditions are the most noticeable, and arguably, the most critical of all of our infrastructure needs, but we have many other infrastructure needs as well.
The Fullerton City Council has directed the City’s volunteer Infrastructure and Natural Resources Committee (INRAC), in association with City staff, to study the problem and make a recommendation to better address our infrastructure needs. This has been a daunting task involving many factors, but the Fullerton staff members have done a great job of presenting the facts to the INRAC committee members in a clear manner.
Though much focus has been placed on roads (we have 294 miles), there are several other critical infrastructure needs that cannot be ignored, including 45 bridges, 31 buildings, 61 parking lots, 6 parking structures, 46 parks, 41,000 trees, as well as vehicles, equipment, IT, sidewalks, curbs, traffic and street lights.
INRAC has been tasked with looking at our budget, current revenue sources, and at potential funding sources. We have a big challenge in that our annual budget and current revenue sources are substantially less than is needed to keep all of our infrastructure (plus staffing and other needs) up to the desired level. One result is that for many years, we have not repaired roads as quickly as they wear out. Road repair is much more expensive than most people think.
To compound the challenge, a substantial portion of Fullerton’s discretionary general fund budget goes to pensions and public safety (police and fire), leaving only about 30% of the budget for infrastructure, parks, staff, etc. Other funding sources such as grants and developer fees are limited, and often must be directed to specific projects or categories of repair or enhancements. For instance, if Fullerton gets money for park enhancements from grants or specific developer fees, that money cannot be used to fix roads.
The city staff and INRAC committee members have reviewed the overall budget at a general level, and then examined in more detail the current budget vs. actual needs for all categories of infrastructure. We also have reviewed our current and potential funding sources, including taxes, fees, other state or federal money, sales of assets, and grants. From there we discussed alternative solutions to bring our infrastructure up to a sustainable level.
We will be presenting our findings and recommendations at a meeting open to the public on January 23, at 6:30pm in the Fullerton City Council chambers.
For more details on the state of our streets infrastructure, please see the documents posted on the City’s web site HERE.
On behalf of the INRAC committee members, I’d like to thank the city staff for their thoroughness and transparency in walking the INRAC team through this complex challenge. Thanks also to my fellow INRAC members, all willing to get up very early twice a month to for our 7:30am meetings, to give back to the city of Fullerton and its residents.
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