City Council Notes: May 2 meeting

Fullerton School Districts National Speech and Debate Team certificate awardees are Christopher Kiker, Jonah Kim, Adeline Choi, Lily Kim, Annette Lee, Alexis Hernandez, Jarris Gimball, Annika Bachna, Caitlin Choi, Arjun Parikh, Natalie Hong, Molly Kim, Juliana Nuncci, Hannah Oh, Audrey Nino Franco, Apollo Menaces, Viviana Hail Kim, Marcus Lopez, Elise Pack, Ella Kim, Leona G. Not pictured Shriya Gandhi and Zoe Karaya. Coach Joshua Beckles will be traveling with the team to Pheonix, AZ, in June to attend the National Speech and Debate Tournament to defend their national title.


The Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm. Upcoming agenda information and streaming video of meetings are available at City Hall is located at 303 W. Commonwealth, Fullerton | Contact Council at (714) 738-6311 or

Public Comments

Several Fullertonians expressed frustration over the homeless and uncleanliness of Orangethorpe. Residents Bernard Oh and Karen Lloreda expressed concern about the issue of the lack of staff. Several callers asked about voting to fire the OCPA CEO, Brian Probolsky, and asked for Mayor Jung to vote him out for the city’s best interests. Several people express frustration over the bafflingly frequent cancelation of the Active Transportation Committee meetings.

Fatality at Magnolia and Flower

Active Transportation Committee member Dr. Anjali Tapadia reported on the pedestrian fatality on Magnolia and Flower. She explained that a vehicle going 100 mph should not be possible on a road with residences with driveways on one side and a school on the other. She stated that this was an infrastructure failure.

Tapadia also reported on the street near Maple Elementary and said that there should be a better attempt at traffic calming there than a sign that says “Thanks for slowing down.” Resident Jennifer Morales also spoke about Magnolia and Flower. She said that she lives on that corner and witnessed the pedestrian fatality. Morales proposed that a speed camera be added with fines that can become revenue for the City. Kurt Johnson also expressed concerns over Magnolia and Flower and recommended a blinking speed limit sign.

Budget Highlights

There were no public comments on city budget study session items at the May 2 meeting.

Presentations on the budget included highlights by the City Manager Eric Levitt, an overview of accomplishments by Budget Analyst Cindy Barrios, a proposed general fund budget, and the five-year forecast by Administrative Director Ellis Chang and Purchasing Manager Stephen Avalos, and the capital improvement projects plan by Principal Civil Engineer David Grantham.

City Manager Eric Levitt reported that the city’s fiscal condition has improved and is stable due to the previous council’s frugality. He is proud that the City met its 17% contingency rate goal for the first time and received a AA credit score. Levitt explained that there is $14.3 million allocated for street repair in comparison to the $11.8 million allocated last year. Levitt said the proposed budget does not reflect the two-year Hunt Library implementation plan, but a placeholder of $195,000 can be added to be used when the library comes forward in June.

Later during the discussion over the Capital Improvement Plan, councilmembers Nick Dunlap, Dr. Shana Charles, and Ahmad Zahra voiced support for the Hunt Library placeholder. Councilman Zahra asked for the total number of street repair deficits and commented that the city’s financial condition seems to be due to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds received. Director Ellis Chang stated that it is probably due to the reductions the city has made and the ARPA funds. Levitt said that bringing up all of the streets would cost around $120 million but that this number is most likely already outdated due to inflation.

Citywide Accomplishments

Analyst Cindy Barrios reviewed city accomplishments, including infrastructure investments and establishing the unified fire command to provide services to the community.

  • The NORESCO Energy Efficiency Project is about 80% completed, and various IT infrastructure projects funded by ARPA are in process.
  • The public works department plans to repair selected residential streets and two miles of arterial roads this calendar year.
  • The Parks & Rec Department’s Discover Fullerton on Foot, Crafternoons, and Feed Fullerton (which has distributed over 3000 meals to residents).
  • The Library continues to offer Story Time for Kids and reading programs for youth and adults.
  • The city has approved significant Community Development projects, including Fox Block and Park West.
  • The Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement (HOPE) Center opened its doors recently to address services to homeless individuals in the north Orange County region.

Proposed General Fund Budget

Director Chang recommended setting aside about $5 million over the next two years that could be used for OC Transportation Authority M2 matching funds in future years.

Dunlap asked if the projected 6% TOT Tax growth considers things like Hotel Fullerton being scraped and replaced with industrial. Chang answered that they look at many factors, like historical TOT revenues and the rise of tourism, travel, and staycations. She reports that with the loss of Hotel Fullerton, they are not expecting continued growth. Jung asked if the 145,000 for the mounted police unit could be better allocated elsewhere.

Police Chief Bob Dunn said, “This figure includes a vehicle and a trailer to transport the horses to various events. We don’t purchase horses. So most of the costs are borne by the riders themselves. We have a vast equestrian community in our city, and we also desire to tap into them as a resource for volunteerism. For example, if we were to have an event in our hills or with the new trails opening, we could have a volunteer group come out on horseback and assist us with looking for lost hikers or participating in community engagement events. It also is a recruitment and retention tool for the department.”

Five Year Forecast

The proposed five-year general fund forecast projects fiscal years 2023-2024 through 2027-2028, presented by Director Ellis Chang The addition of contingency reserve levels projects the change in fund balance and the operating surplus deficit.

The proposed budget projects a general fund ending the fiscal year 2023-2024 with a surplus of $3 million and $2 million reserved for future maintenance of efforts, and an ending fund balance of $27.1 million. The general fund is again anticipated to maintain a 17% contingency reserve in the fiscal year 2023-2024 and 2024-2025, with any available fund balance above the contingency carried forward to future fiscal years. As projected, that general fund will exceed the minimum contingent 10% contingency reserve level and fiscal years 2025-2026 and 2026-2027.

The Maintenance of Effort (MoE) reserve is the amount set aside of $5.5 million and funds to address the M2 match. It’s expected the City will begin to draw on those reserves starting in the fiscal year 2025-2026 through 2027-2028 to ensure it can meet requirements to continue receiving the M2 funding.

Councilmember Dr. Shana Charles asked staff to explain why there’s a recession forecast two years out and what those numbers reflect. “And these numbers don’t reflect what we saw last week regarding the OCPA (Orange County Power Authority) and their expected revenue?”

Director Chang said, “There’s been talk about a recession for probably the last five years and this year and next year will give us some time to evaluate.

If the recession is more severe than we had forecasted, we would update this forecast and bring it back to City Council.” “Future projection of OCPA revenue is not included in this forecast. $6.7 million was projected to be over the 17% contingency reserve level in 2023. Anything, including the contingency reserve, is carried forward to the beginning fund balance in the subsequent fiscal years. Starting in 2024-2025, you’ll see that the net operating surplus switches to a deficit because of the additional increase in the infrastructure fund. This is going to be money set aside.”

Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) & Infrastructure

Engineer Grantham reviewed next year’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget. The focus is on maintaining or repairing the facilities and infrastructure rather than full-scale renovations.

The following departments are set as CIP projects.

$5.5 million is the final allocation of the $13.1 million approved by the council a couple of years ago. It includes about $350,000 of the CDBG grant for street work and the $1.5 million as recommended by the city manager at this time but not technically approved by the council—the $1 million for the infrastructure fund. He presented a map showing recommended street improvements for next year.

It also is recommended to start on the pavement treatment project. An annual pavement treatment project can include slurry seals, cape seals, chip seals, etc. The $1.5 million is recommended for enhancement with any additional funds left over from that to expand the payment treatment project for the year, he said. An index is involved in determining the order in which streets get done.

Every two years, the OCTA report scores zero to 100 on all streets: 0 is bad, and 100 is fantastic. The report, in conjunction with utility projects, other private developments, and locations, decerns recommendations for street repair. Mayor Jung asked, “What is our current pavement condition index?” Grantham answered, “Arterial streets are 74.5 because they’re near fair. Residentials are around 63 to 65 and overall is about 67. So the City is on an upward trend, especially with our arterial streets.”

YMCA at Maple Center

Mayor Jung asked if the Maple Center YMCA Scholarship is a one-time thing. Director Chang stated that it will be annual if the council moves forward with it. Jung asks how this was proposed, to which Chang recalled that it was when the YMCA contract was approved. Jung asked why these scholarships are not being negotiated through the YMCA rather than the city.

Eric Levitt commented that the scholarship was from the savings gained from the YMCA contract. Jung questioned again why the scholarship is going through the city budgeting process rather than the YMCA, saying it is best for the scholarship to go through the YMCA.

Councilmember Zahra asked if the current economic climate and the federal government working to stop inflation is being considered in budget projections. Chang said that staff works with consultants, economic reports, and historical data in order to make their projections. Zahra explained that he brought up the scholarship and that the YMCA does not have enough to cover enough students and residents. Zahra argued that the scholarship is “small pennies” compared to other items [such as the annual $20,000 spent on the State of the City fundraiser for the chamber of commerce] and that they are saving money from leasing out the YMCA.

Jung said the notion that it is “small pennies” rings hollow and that although he agreed that the city should give back, Jung does not agree with the process since it should be through the YMCA. Zahra said the process is a technicality and that he had no issues as long as the scholarship is provided. Jung agreed.

JP23 Urban Kitchen

Jacob Poozhikala’s attorney Ryan Duckett explained that Poozhikala is planning on no longer having anything to do with JP23. The attorney argued that the music playing past the curfew is not live since it is from a set playlist. Duckett also explained that while the sale to Luke Pathiyill was supposed to take place in November, they are waiting on the entertainment permit.

City Prosecutor Greg Palmer disagreed with Duckett on this point and states that the entertainment permit is ancillary. Jung stated that he was not in favor of giving them a path forward. Zahra shared Jung’s opinion that this should come to the council or go through a more rigorous process.

Presentations by Organizations

Tina Cruz and Regina Moe shared their stories with OC Legacy to encourage organ donation. April becomes the official Donate Life month in Fullerton. The city of Hope OC speaks about its organization for cancer research.

City Engineering Proposes Lane Reduction for Associated Road

by Staff

The City of Fullerton is about to replace the water main and repave Associated Rd from Bastanchury to Imperial (The segment from Yorba Linda to Bastanchury is already under construction). In addition, the plan is to remove a traffic lane in each direction and make more room for bicycles and parking. This is one of the few things the City has proposed to enhance bicycle safety and convenience in recent years.

A notice of the May 4 meeting was sent to property owners on Associated as required by state law and with some additional notice on social media. Still, no special attempt was made to reach cyclists or other street users. About 30 people attended the May 4 Active Transportation Meeting, most skeptical about the project, some openly hostile to staff and speakers with whom they disagreed. The main concern seemed to be with parking possibly leading to homeless encampments, although the overnight parking ban would still be in effect.

There was also concern about the bicycle lane being located between parked cars and the curbs (this referred to a proposal to build a protected class IV bike lane). But some of the most vocal speakers wanted no change, keeping four lanes, 6′ bicycle lanes, and no parking.

The principal reason for the lane reduction, according to staff, is safety for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians:

  • Interaction between cars moving in the same direction would be eliminated.
  • The bike lane would be widened and further separated from vehicles.
  • Pedestrians would find it safer to cross two lanes rather than four.
  • Staff also referred to data that reducing the number of lanes would also reduce traffic speed.

The principal concern of attendees about lane reduction was congestion. However, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has determined that with traffic counts of fewer than 20,000 cars per day, well-designed two-lane streets are safer and can work as effectively as four-lane streets (the traffic count on Associated is 10,800 cars per day).

There are several examples in Fullerton that bear this out, notably Berkeley between Hornet and Chapman and Commonwealth between Chapman and State College. Associated is a vital bike route both for the City and regional bicyclists: it is in the Fullerton Bicycle Master Plan and is included in the OCTA document on Fourth District Bikeways Strategy; it is the only route that would completely traverse the City from north to south (via the campus, Commonwealth and Acacia).

It is one of the only safe routes that cross the 57 freeway, and it connects with the only other two safe routes (Rolling Hills and Bastanchury). It would be more heavily used, except that the Rolling Hills to Imperial segment is unsafe for riding. Councilmembers need to hear from more than the property owners on Associated, and residents are encouraged to turn out for the City Council meeting on May 16 at 5:30 pm.

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