The city of Inglewood resumes regular city council meetings with multiple agenda items of concern to residents. We will be inundated with additional digital billboards operated by WOW Media and a planned affordable housing project gets scrapped in favor of market-rate units.
A 2015 agreement with WOW Media called for construction of ten billboards around the city. They are now seeking to have that number increased by an additional four.
Placeworks is set to receive an agreement, totaling $47,045 in value, and exempt from the public bidding process, to prepare the necessary environmental reports for the new billboards. Between September and December 2019, the city had a short form agreement with Placeworks in the amount of $40,260, for environmental impact studies and now they seek to make the agreement public so the fees can be increased.
On the same agenda is a $200,000, six-month agreement, for “on-call” event planning and production services for city events. The contract will be awarded to Huntington Beach, CA, based WOW! Special Events Inc dba WOW! Events. It is unclear if they are affiliated with WOW Media. Inglewood based It’s Your Party Floral and Event Design was deemed “non-responsive” despite submitting a proposal for services they have previously supplied the city.
The next major event will be the Earth Day Jazz Festival followed by Taste of Inglewood which is now a two-day affair.
The city will continue to contract with CSG Consultants Inc. for Building Safety plan check services, as opposed to hiring permanent, full-time staff. Under Agreement 18-204 CSG will receive an additional $200,000. CSG has worked with the city since 2014.
Due to the lack of meeting and not providing the level of fiduciary oversight and strategy recommendations required for implementation and compliance with the City’s Investment Policy, City Manager Artie Fields has brought back an item to dissolve the current Investment Committee and re-establish it. The committee will consist of Treasurer Wanda Brown, Mayor James Butts, Fields, a member of the city council and finance department.
The city will enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with 317 La Brea LLC to develop property at 100 E. Nutwood. The former location of 100 Black Men of Los Angeles will become a catalytic transit-oriented development, as described in the accompanying staff report. 317 La Brea also owns the former Elks Club building at 317 La Brea. The goal is to combine both parcels to create market-rate housing rentals, despite the fact that the city acquired the Nutwood parcel via the general fund reserves back in 2016. The city leveraged the reserves to buyout affordable housing restrictions.
The city also removed affordable housing from the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project.
Finally, a dubious agenda item is listed to amend the FY 2019-2020 Annual Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) for needed budget adjustments due to scheduling changes and/or additional CIP projects.
The budget currently appropriates $20,198,210, for 35 CIP projects, which breaks down to 9 projects in progress and 26 projects begun in previous fiscal years. The staff report is quite complicated and is signed off by a peculiar variance of City Manager Artie Fields’ signature.
Some of the slated projects include installing new lighting, signage and HVAC system at the Willie Agee playhouse, despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in upgrades performed by Turner Construction. The upgrades were part of a comprehensive community benefits agreement when the Forum was reopened.
$3.5 million in upgrades to various city alleys. $10.25 million towards a City rail system. $7 million to upgrade carpet, lighting and HVAC in city hall.
This council continues to play a dangerous game of continuously reallocating funds to pay for pet projects we simply can not afford.
Residents are eagerly awaiting to hear what Treasurer Wanda Brown has to share with us this week, or will Mayor Butts take away her ability to present during the council meetings?