LA to review budget, with nearly $ 1 billion for homelessness crisis – NBC Los Angeles
Los Angeles City Council will consider the 2021-22 fiscal year budget proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and revised by the Budget and Finance Committee on Thursday, which includes historic spending to tackle the homelessness crisis.
The committee will present the budget to council members, who have until June 1 to adopt a budget and present it to Garcetti for approval or veto. Garcetti again came up with the largest budget in the city’s history, with an overall budget of $ 11.2 billion and a projected general fund income of $ 6.6 billion.
Public spending at all levels inevitably increases due to inflation, program expansion and population growth. This budget also includes half of the approximately $ 1.3 billion allocated to the city as part of the US bailout.
The city expects to receive this funding in the next month, with the second half expected in 12 months.
Chief legislative analyst Sharon Tso told the Budget and Finance Committee that parts of the budget are dependent on federal guidance on how US bailout funding can be used.
“It will remain to be seen how these guidelines will be interpreted and whether the budget will comply with these guidelines,” Tso said. “We think they are. We think adjustments will be needed to be sure.”
The city is expected to receive half of the funding next month and the second half a year later.
Tso also noted that the city is receiving $ 75 million less than expected from the American Rescue Plan, but the increase in other revenue will offset this loss.
During the budget hearings which began on April 27, the committee heard from directors general, executive directors and senior managers of all city departments regarding the proposed budget, its impact on their departments and the previous budgets of the city. ministry.
Significant spending in the budget includes nearly $ 1 billion to address the city’s homelessness crisis and more than $ 1.7 billion for the Los Angeles Police Department budget, an increase of 3% from when the Los Angeles City Council cut $ 150 million from the department’s budget last July.
Committee members added funds for additional staff for the Ministry of Recreation and Parks and the draft Wildlife Corridor Ordinance, and also requested over 200 reports for further analysis of aspects of the budget. and made recommendations to the Chief Legislative Analyst.
The CLA submitted recommendations for the committee’s consideration on Friday, when committee members proposed and voted on additional changes.
“Over the past few days, the office (of the Chief Legislative Analyst) has done a herculean job of trying to accommodate the priorities of this committee as expressed through a variety of motions and through memos. “, said the chairman of the committee, Councilor Paul Krekorian, during the last budget hearing on Friday.
One of the most significant changes made by the CLA and a motion by committee chairman, Councilor Paul Krekorian on Friday, is funding for an oil and gas depreciation study to phase out the drilling in the city.
During the public comments on the budget on May 6, several people, some calling on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Sunrise Movement, asked the committee to add $ 3.4 million for the study and staffing to draft a non-conforming land use ordinance to ensure that when the city council votes to start phasing out oil and gas drilling, the city has the money to back it up.
The CLA proposed $ 1 million in funding for the depreciation study, which Tso described as a placeholder before a pending report on funding needed.
Krekorian on Friday proposed adding an additional $ 2.5 million for a total of $ 3.5 million for the amortization study. The motion was adopted unanimously by the five-member committee. Councilor Kevin de Leon had declared his support for adding funds to the amortization study earlier in the meeting.
âI think if we’re really serious about this (amortization study) we’re going to have to increase this to at least a few million more dollars,â he said.
De Leon also offered to request three additional posts for the Public Works Council dedicated to phasing out oil drilling in the city: a senior management analyst, an environmental engineer and a management analyst.
His motion was passed, but Krekorian dissented, noting that he supported the spirit of the request, but felt the office needed an oil administrator first to advise on the staffing needed to eliminate gradually oil drilling.
Krekorian also proposed to authorize an environmental specialist post and a town planner post in the Town Planning Department to help finalize the Wildlife Corridor Ordinance.
In public comments on May 6, Los Angeles conservation advocates, organized by the Center for Biological Diversity, called for funding for four positions, an environmental specialist, a town planner and two planning associates, in order to finalize the order.
The Budget and Finance Committee unanimously approved Krekorian’s motion requesting funding for two of the items in the draft budget.
Another significant change proposed by the Chief Legislative Analyst was the budgeting for additional hiring and operational requirements for the Department of Recreation and Parks, which was requested by Councilor Nithya Raman in a letter to the Committee of budget and finance. Raman, along with members of the public who called the committee meeting on May 6, expressed concern that the mayor’s proposal would not allow the ministry to fill 140 positions that were lost during the pandemic.
Raman had noted that due to the department’s budget cut, Griffith Park Observatory, which is in his district, will close two more days and reduce the number of science days offered to children during the school year.
In addition to the funding proposed by the CLA to allow the ministry to fill the 140 lost positions, Krekorian on Friday proposed adding funding for additional recreation and park positions, including water sports, construction, land maintenance, homelessness and emergency management, human resources and recreation staffing. .
Other important changes in the CLA recommendations include:
- increase funding for senior meal programs;
- increase funding for the Department of Civil Affairs, Human Rights and Equity; and
- provide funding for illegal cannabis law enforcement and litigation support.
“The deliberations of the Committee on Budget and Finance have largely focused on the long-term restoration of services, efforts to contribute to the economic recovery of the city’s residents and to address long-standing imbalance issues. in terms of equity. was aware of the need to replenish the city’s reserves, strengthen the city’s financial position and position itself favorably for the future, âTso said in a letter to the committee ahead of the budget hearing last Friday.
“We believe that the recommendations contained in this report respond to the highest priorities of the Committee on Budget and Finance, preserve the Council’s ability to undertake a detailed examination of key policy issues, allow time to adequately assess the the city’s economic recovery and regulations for the use of federal funds, and enable the city to respond to potential deficits, revenue changes and other issues. “
Los Angeles City Council will discuss the budget Thursday at 9 a.m. Members of the public can call to express their views on the budget by dialing 669 254-5252 and using the meeting number 160 535 8466. The meeting can be viewed at clerk.lacity.org/calendar.