INGLEWOOD – The Inglewood City Council resumed regularly scheduled city council meetings June 14 after last convening May 24. During the May 24 meeting, the mayor made a motion from the dais to authorize the city manager to spend up to $500,000 towards a capital improvement project (CIP) since the contract was already executed by the mayor.
“This last fiscal year we had a $14 million surplus,” said the mayor, however, the actual numbers on the City’s website shows that’s a lie, because if that were true, the City wouldn’t have declared a fiscal emergency last summer.
“We have to stop doing what we always done which is stop budgeting so much for these big projects that usually aren’t done within a fiscal year,” said the mayor.
Those projects include a $4.5 million remodel of the Police Department’s locker rooms and repair of a leaky roof at the maintenance center. These projects have been deferred for YEARS.
“We’re budgeting the full amount when we never expect it to be done in the fiscal year anyway,” said the mayor. “We have looked at the contracts and cut the amounts due for this year.”
When the City presented the mid-year budget May 24 it detailed a $22 million deficit, which is more than double the projected $9.8 million deficit presented when the budget was adopted last Fall. Instead of the council including the CIP projects in the adopted budget, it appears they have a history of sneaking it in to city council meetings as “carryovers” in an attempt to deceive the public about the City’s fiscal condition.
The Daily Breeze threw the City a bone when they proclaimed “the City was having its best revenue ever” in an October 2021 article, however, with the manner in which the City is obligated for the mayor’s extraordinary legal bills, it’s hard to believe the mayor when he says we had a surplus unless he’s counting the Biden money.
The same meeting, former City Manager Mark Weinberg was called up to go over the deficit, and mentioned he was happy the mayor and council agreed to the city manager’s signature authority.
“It saves us from waiting for the item to get on the agenda, which usually takes two weeks,” said the mayor.
City Manager Artie Fields was due to give a presentation of what was spent to the city council two weeks after this authorization was given, however, the City hasn’t met since then. Their first meeting back was June 14.
Artie Fields was noticeably absent, and when it came time for comments from the city manager’s office, Assistant City Manager Luis Atwell affirmed there were “none”.
Exactly how is the taxpayers money being spent and on what? The City is planning a robust schedule of (campaign) events ranging from a women’s empowerment summit, Taste of Inglewood festival in Centinela Park, and residents are left scratching their heads as to where the money is coming from.
The video below is from the May 24 meeting where the mayor made the last minute motion, which was seconded by the District 3 councilman, who then fell over himself to explain the City “overestimated” their ability to physically perform activities related to the CIP projects and despite money existing in the reserves to pay for it, they potentially don’t have the personnel to do so.
The one project the residents are most aware of is the repaving of Centinela Ave., and activity related to the Intuit Dome. Weinberg alluded to a costly contract heading the council’s way, but it wasn’t on the June 14 agenda.
How long can the mayor and council keep up this charade?