City Mgm't Proposes Council Balance FY19 Budget With Increased Ambulance Charges, Increased Parking Fines, Allowing Short Term Rentals (Airbnb Type) To Collect Hotel Room (Transient Occupancy Tax) And Discloses LB Consumers Paying Approx $6+ Million More Than Initially Expected Under Measure A Sales Tax Hike is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Feb. 7, 2018, 12:55 p.m.) -- As seen LIVE on, city management provided preliminary estimates (not available for public or press review prior to the Council meeting) proposing to balance City Hall's FY19 budget by increasing fees for ambulance services, increased fines for parking violations, allowing short term rentals (such as Airbnb) to harvest hotel room (transient occupancy) tax revenue, all of which require various levels of approval by the City Council after upcoming elections for three incumbent Councilmembers and the Mayor.

LB Financial Management Director John Gross said ambulance fees "are one key area for potential revenue. For many people, these fees are often covered by some type of insurance. The current fees are below cost and below the current L.A. County rates." He said parking fines are another key revenue source because "[t]he current fines are below those in Los Angeles the City [of LB] does not charge for the separate fees that the state collects."

Mr. Gross also disclosed that the FY19 budget will be balanced in part because City Hall is receiving (i.e. LB consumers are now paying) roughly $6+ million than initially anticipated under LB's "Measure A" (June 2016 voter approved) sales tax increase. City management's PPT proposes to use that unexpected sum to maintain "public safety services" and increase unspecified "public safety"...but with no additional LBPD officers or LBFD fire engines restored for taxpayers. [LB currently lacks nearly 200 police officers and two fire engines taxpayers previously had. Under Measure A, LB consumers pay the highest sales tax of any CA city, with the exception of a few others locally.] City management says previously announced infrastructure projects will continue as planned.

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Mr. Gross said City Hall's budget office will also look at "other fees that are not recovering costs and other fines for potential increases" and suggested an additional (initial estimate) $900,000 may be available by charging transient occupancy taxes (hotel room taxes) on short term rentals of homes and apartments done through services such as Airbnb (which to our knowledge aren't currently allowed in LB.) In Council colloquy, Councilwoman Price cautioned staff that a number of 3rd dist. residents have voiced strong opposition to allowing such rentals, and said staff shouldn't presume where Council may or may not ultimately allow such rentals.



Mr. Gross said the City can produce $2.9 million in "other balancing actons" through vacancy savings, new funding sources, additional efficiencies and other unspecified cost reductions, but requires finding offsets for unfunded cost increases that could have impacts on services that management will strive to keep to minimum.

A PPT presentation -- made available to the public after the Council session at this link -- indicates the potential budget balancing actions:

  • $4.0 m -- ambulance fees, parking fines & other
  • $0.9 m -- revenue from short-term rentals
  • $3.1 m -- improved Measure A revenues to help maintain public safety services
  • $3.9 m -- allocate more Measure A funds for public safety
  • $2.9 m -- other, e.g., vacancy savings, other funding sources, additional efficiencies, cost reductions
  • $14.8 m total

    <$3.5 m> -- from balancing actions in original projection

  • $11.3 m net additional balancing actions

Mr. Gross noted that there is a potential for significant variance to the preliminary projections. [PPT slide text] "1% variance in overall revenues would impact shortfall by $4 m to $5 m. Updated projections may require less or more in budget balancing actions and/or department reductions."




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