The Inglewood City Manager’s office presented the council with the upcoming FY 2022-2023 budget which details a nearly $6 million surplus due to funds received under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) awarded by the federal government.
The City patted itself on the back for “increasing revenue over expenditures” this current fiscal year which was not exactly truthful.
They implied the City was bringing in more revenue, which could lead residents to believe it’s derived from the opening of SoFi Stadium while glossing over the fact that the City put $13.3 million of ARPA funds into the general fund over the last two weeks.
The budget slide showing revenue from Admissions Tax (AMT) wasn’t clearly explained. In FY 2020-21 when venues were closed due to the pandemic, the budget showed AMT totalling $7.4 million. For the FY 2021-22, which runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, which includes revenue generated from Super Bowl 56, that number dropped to $400,000. The slide below denotes AMT was previously classified as “other revenue”. Why is there a $7 million decrease from the year prior?
When we pulled up the FY 2020-21 budget, the other revenue totaling $7.8 million was attributed to reimbursements received for police services for SoFi Stadium.
The City has committed over $15 million in outside police services since 2021 with Hawthorne Police Department ($2M), California Highway Patrol ($8M), and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department ($8.2M).
According to the NFL petition initiative that was approved by the city council in Feb. 2015, admissions tax from the stadium is capped at $15 million. Historically, without SoFi Stadium and YouTube Theatre being open, the city received less than $1 million annually from AMT generated by the Forum. This photo shows that for FY 2020-21 the city received $400,000 in AMT from the Forum.
Police and fire services represent 62% of the City’s budget and increases to those expenditures are attributed to salary increases, and rising healthcare and pension costs.
The sports and entertainment venues have been open to the public for nearly two years and frankly the numbers show that opening SoFi Stadium is costing taxpayers more than it is bringing in due to the police and fire costs associated with events.
How else does the City explain a 70,000 seat stadium, 6,000 seat YouTube Theatre, and 17,505 seat Kia Forum collectively only bringing in $400,000 between Oct. 1, 2021 through today?
WHERE’S THE AMT FROM SOFI STADIUM FOR FY 2021-22?
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts responded to questions asking about the discrepancy.
“Apples and oranges. One is a reimbursement revenue. The other is a tax revenue,” said Butts.
Neither City Manager Artie Fields nor Budget Manager Keauonna Buchannon provided a concise explanation for the $7 million decrease from the previous year.
The city is currently without a CFO after the retirement of David Esparza earlier this year and long-time treasurer Wanda Brown is banned from the dais for alerting the public about the City’s shell game with the finances.