The Inglewood Finance Department will present its 1st quarter budget numbers during the Feb. 28 regular city council meeting.
Inglewood residents expect to see a huge bump in revenue now that major entertainment and sports venues have come online over the past two years.
Both SoFi Stadium and YouTube Theater were expected to bring in millions of dollars of new revenue through Admissions and Parking Taxes.
When the FY 2022-2023 budget was unveiled last September the City showed only $400,000 received in Admissions Tax from the Kia Forum. There were no line items for admissions tax derived from either SoFi Stadium or YouTube Theater.
The budget slide showing revenue from Admissions Tax wasn’t clearly explained for amounts received in FY 2020-21 when both venues were closed to the public due to the pandemic yet still brought in $7.4 million in Admissions Tax. For the FY 2021-22, which runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, including revenue generated from Super Bowl 56, shows the number dropped significantly by $7 million and only brought in $400,000.
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.
The City projects to bring in $16.2 million in the current fiscal year from the Kia Forum, SoFi Stadium, and the YouTube Theater which indicates “the math ain’t mathin'”.
For FY 2022-2023, Admissions Tax is down 59% over where we were last year. These numbers represent revenue brought in between Oct. 1, 2022 through Jan. 31, 2023.
According to the staff report, “receipts total $5.1 million or 32% of the total budgeted amount of $16.2 million. This is $7.2 million or 58% less than the same period last fiscal year”. The report states that although the revenue appears “significantly lower” than the prior year, the City attributes it to a “lag in adjustments” in the prior year as opposed to the current year. Huh?
The City has committed over $15 million in contracts for outside police services with Hawthorne Police Department ($2M), California Highway Patrol ($8M), and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department ($8.2M).
According to the 1st quarter numbers, the City has already spent $24 million on police and fire services in three months.
“Expenditures for the police department are $18.8 million and expenses for fire services is $6.1 million which is an 11% increase than the same period last fiscal year”. The City attributes the increase to negotiated wage and benefit increases and overtime.
The City appears to be only generating enough money from these venues to pay for less than three months of emergency services and what’s more startling is the fact that the budget department refuses to delineate how much admissions tax revenue is being generated from each venue.
Why is this information being hidden from the public?
Most likely because we will see the City is losing money every time those venues are open for events. The only revenue that is saving Inglewood is the federal funds received through the Biden Administration with close to $15 million still not allocated towards anything.
The council is expected to pay out millions for lawsuits directly attached to Inglewood Mayor James Butts so residents need to ask themselves a serious question – HOW HAS THIS COUNCIL MADE THE CITY’S FINANCES BETTER? Spoiler alert; they haven’t.
Overall, the City alleges revenue is up across the board but its attributed to one-time fees. In essence, the CIty is playing a shell game.
On a side note, the Inglewood City Clerk just thanked the Los Angeles Rams for sending her and her son to Disneyland for the day and District 1 residents have until March 7 to cast their vote for their council representative.
You can read the full 1st quarter budget numbers here.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist for 2UrbanGirls.com and a contributing writer for the Los Angeles Wave newspaper.