In June 2016 city of Compton residents were asked to increase their sales tax to fix the streets (potholes). Measure P narrowly passed and at the next regular city council meeting, on, Tuesday, October 3rd, council will vote on Item #6 to establish an “urgent response team” to address illegal dumping, graffiti and potholes. More importantly, council is preparing to take an action outside of what City Attorney (CA) Craig Cornwell told residents that Measure P funds could NOT be spent until a Compton Taxpayers Committee was established. 2 Urban Girls spoke with City Attorney Craig Cornwell on what the true definition of “established” is because we disagree.
Here is an excerpt from CA Cornwell’s “impartial analysis” on Measure P as found on Ballotpedia:
The tax is subject to an independent annual financial audit that will review whether the tax is collected, managed and expended in accordance with the requirements of the proposed ordinance. In addition, the sales tax ordinance requires the City Council to establish an independent Compton Taxpayers Committee to review the expenditure of the revenues raised by the proposed tax.
The definition of establish is to “institute a law and put someone/something in a position.
The City Attorney forwarded Resolution 24,591 which establishes the framework of the Compton Taxpayers Committee but according to Cornwell, there are no sitting members.
The question becomes is the committee truly established if there are NO members? And if there are no sitting members, how is council making plans to spend Measure P money? It’s like establishing a bank account with no corresponding deposit.
The Committee will only meet four times a year and will only have the authority to review documents, not make recommendations and/or deny the council the ability to spend the funds as they see fit. Committee members will receive $25/meeting not to exceed $100/year.
The accompanying staff report, requesting approx $1.3 million dollars of Measure P funds will be used to create the “urgent response team”. It will consist of a supervisor and ten entry-level employees to assist with tree trimming, graffiti removal and fixing potholes. Will this “team” be hired as regular city employees or non union?
Of the $1.3 million, $533,316 is earmarked for equipment and machinery, while $90,000 has been allocated to materials.
No money appears to be earmarked to train these new employees on the equipment unless that is covered under the $135,000 earmarked for “other contract services”.
The city has the option to purchase or lease the equipment.
|Purchase||Rental (3 years)|
|$ 215,439.25||$ 77,040.00||large wheel loader|
|$ 133,408.81||$ 39,300.00||loader w/ backhoe|
|$ 50,000.00||$ 116,340.00||asphalt spreader box|
|$ 398,848.06||$ 349,020.00|
According to Mayor Aja Brown’s re-election campaign page, Measure P was to fund street repairs and expand hiring, not trim trees and remove graffiti. Mayor Brown went further and published this timeline of how the streets will be fixed:
- Completed Phase 1 of Central Avenue with plans to start Phase 2 in the summer of 2017
- Wilmington Avenue is currently under construction adding new lighted sidewalks, bike lanes and ADA curb access
- Compton Boulevard will be fully completed in 2017 including repairs and enhancements
The Mayor’s “Fix Our Streets” website detailed where the money would go. From the site:
Known as the Vital City Services and Neighborhood Protection Measure, Measure P was passed by Compton residents last June and added a one percent sales tax on taxable items bought in the city to repave all of the city’s streets, establish a street maintenance fund, increase lighting, strengthen public safety and stabilize basic city services. Measure P is expected to garner $8 million annually.
Cornwell previously advised council they could receive payments on commissions they sat on, that weren’t included in the city charter. After a chat with the LA County District Attorney’s office, he reversed himself. Will history repeat itself?
Council will vote on appropriating the $1.3 million at the next regular city council meeting, to be held on Tuesday, October 3rd at 5:30 p.m.