The Inglewood City Council will convene Mar. 1 to review the 1st quarter budget for FY 2021-2022. The staff report details a $9.8 million operating shortfall, while costs for public safety continue to tip the scale.
On Septmeber 28, 2021, the mayor and council adopted an operating budget of $152,547,207 and expenditures of $162,372,221.
“This council has an overspending problem!” said Treasurer Wanda Brown. “When the city refinanced the pension obligation bonds, instead of paying down the debt, they put the money into the general fund as if it were revenue.”
The city has consistently posted multi-million dollar deficits since Mayor James Butts assumed office in 2011. The only exception was when the City refinanced the pension obligation bonds in 2017.
The City’s biggest expenditure to date is public safety.
The budget details fire and police services have increased 17.5% over the same period last fiscal year.
The budget department details “other revenue” totaling a 7.5% increase, which includes reimbursable contract expenses for public safety, but those figures are lumped in with parking and vehicle violations/fines, and investment earnings and interest, making it impossible to determine if the City is in fact being fully reimbursed for services related to SoFi Stadium.
Records request have been submitted to the City Clerk’s office, and mayor, for the contract between the City and Hollywood Park Management Co. in August 2021. The City continues to refuse to provide the requested documents which will detail reimbursement rates for public safety, traffic services, and public works.
The city has awarded nearly $14 million in outside law enforcement contracts related to SoFi Stadium.
The City has attempted to increase revenue by placing ballot measures before the public, with one measure passing, and the other being rejected.
The City has implemented new fees related to development [Transportation Impact and Water Connection Fees], which come AFTER the approval of SoFi Stadium, Intuit Dome, and the new housing development on Prairie.
The City has received $15 million from the Biden Administration, but it was placed into a deferred revenue account, instead of the General Fund, to balance the budget.
Budget Manager Keauonna Buckhanon is suggesting the revenue shortfall be shored up with the reserves, however, by our estimates, the City has used nearly $50 million of the reserves during the last four fiscal years.
How can the city afford to continue operating like this?
Inglewood Police Department is hemorrhaging personnel that are either retiring or leaving for another agency. Contract negotiations have begun, but folks are scratching their head as to when we will see this “windfall” rain down on the City now that the stadium is online.
Will public safety be compromised as a direct result?
Meaning, how many more officers will we lose if raises aren’t on the table? Will that put us in direct conflict with provisions of officer to resident ratios?
IPD has ramped up advertising for upcoming testing dates, and are offering a $10,000 bonus to lateral from an outside agency. If I were either Butts or Fronterotta I would be working closely with Sheriff Alex Villanueva to ensure his deputies have a landing place should the Board of Supervisor’s take action and actually terminate personnel over the COVID vaccination. IPD is no longer mandating it.
Economic experts say Super Bowl LVI could bring in hundreds of millions of to Los Angeles County, with a large chunk of that going to businesses in Inglewood.
That won’t be determined until either the mid-year numbers come out around April, or when the fiscal year closes in September.12799-1