Inglewood Budget Manager Keaunna Buchanon gave the mid-year budget presentation May 25, 2021, where the council patted themselves on the back for being “frugal” with how they spent taxpayer money, despite declining revenue related to the COVID 19 global pandemic. The presentation cited reserves in the amount of $63 million, which members of the public questioned.
“My question is what is this reserves,” asked Gil Mathieu. “You have $63 million in there?”
“How did you guys arrive to a $63 million in excess…these numbers jump mysteriously every time its towards election period,” said Marvin McCoy. “I don’t trust anything you put up there regarding the budget.”
Inglewood has recorded nearly five years of unbalanced budgets, requiring them to regularly dip into the reserves to make ends meet. The city has NEVER provided an explanation of how they have socked away so much money, except for an infusion of cash when they refinanced the pension obligation bonds.
Councilman Alex Padilla chided the callers for questioning the city’s finances.
“Instead of saying ‘hey man you’ve guys have done a great job’…not just because of the pandemic, we looked at strategic forecasting…we took prudent, responsible measures, and make decisions in the best interest of the city of Inglewood,” said Padilla. “We should be celebrating that we have this much in the reserves.”
Councilman Eloy Morales also joined in on the “celebrating” of the city’s fiscal position.
“It’s important that the public understand this is a snapshot of where we are today, and the budget is a “living document”, and along with what the mayor points it out, we know how it impacts our residents,” said Morales. “I remember the prior budgets and we are doing good. Other cities are scrambling and we are not.”
Mayor Butts tied the loose ends, and proclaimed the city “fiscally solvent”.
Oh. Two short months later, on August 3, the council voted unanimously to declare a fiscal emergency, after hiding $15.5 million received from the Biden Administration, and expending an additional $14 million in outside police services for SoFi Stadium. The city also proclaimed we would be in a deficit the next five years.
Is the city fiscally solvent or not?
This council is blowing smoke up the Butts of Inglewood residents (pun intended), to pass new taxes, to pay for the Inglewood Transit Connector (people mover).
Special election to raise certain taxes is scheduled for November 2, 2021.