News / Perspective

Mayor Garcia Wants Council To Approve In FY18 Budget:

  • NO Add'l Budgeted Citywide Neighborhood Deployable Officers (Total Officers Restored In FY17 Were 17 Out of 208 Erased); However Add'l Police Academy Class "Expected To Result In Significant Add'l Officers Over Authorized Strength Levels in FY18," Unclear If For Contracted Or Citywide Officers Or Will Offset Expected Retirements in FY19
  • NO Fire Engines Restored At Station 17 (Argonne Ave.), Station 1 (Magnolia/Broadway second unit for density/high rises) or Station 18 (Palo Verde/Wardlow)
  • NO Disclosure In Mayor/Mgm't Docs We Can See That Budget Would Show Roughly $7 Mil Deficit If Mgm't Hadn't Switched (Without Council Approval) From "Reasonably Conservative" Estimated Revenue To (Riskier) "Reasonably Optimistic"

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    (July 31, 2017, 12:40 p.m. text added/updated 2:40 p.m., 6:20 p.m.) -- On Monday morning July 31, Mayor Robert Garcia recommended that the City Council approve a city management proposed FY18 budget that offers LB taxpayers:

    • No additional budgeted citywide neighborhood deployable police officers (leaving taxpayers with 17 total citywide officers restored out of 208 erased). However budget narrative text indicates one-time funding for a "fourth back-to-back police academy with a maximized number of expected to result in significant additional officers over authorized strength levels in FY18." (The narrative text leaves unclear what this means numerically, if the officers will be for citywide or contracted (restricted) purposes, and if they'll offset retirements expected in FY19.)

    • No restoration of Fire Engine 17 at Station 17 (2200 block Argonne Ave.) [or Engine 101 (Magnolia/Broadway second unit for density/high rises) or Engine 18 (Palo Verde/Wardlow.)]

    • No disclosure [that we can see on quick review] in documents for distribution at public meetings, or in a city release to news outlets, or by Mayor Garcia in multiple social network dispatches on his Facebook and Twitter pages, acknowledging that the proposed FY18 budget would show a roughly $7 million deficit [likely meaning cuts and/or higher fees] if management hadn't switched -- without Council voted approval -- from using "reasonably conservative" estimated revenue to (more risky) "reasonably optimistic" estimated revenue. [ coverage here.]

    [Scroll down for further.]

    Budget materials distributed by the City and the Mayor tell taxpayers that the budget is "balanced" and continue to recite the City's stated financial policy of using "reasonably conservative" revenue estimates. However management acknowledged at today's press event that in preparing the proposed FY18 budget, it applied [without seeking prior Council approval] what it calls a "reasonable expectation" of higher revenue based on the past few years of budget performance (that resulted in surpluses, used for one-time projects instead of ongoing spending.)

    • To view the press release that the City distributed to news outlets, click here.
    • To view city management's proposed FY18 budget, click here.
    • To view other associated budget documents (including scheduled meetings, Council actions), click here.


    The City Council can change, revise, tweak or give rubberstamp approval what city management proposes and the Mayor recommends. Five Councilmembers can make those changes; six are needed to override a Mayoral veto if he uses it.

    Release of the proposed FY18 budget comes after LB voters approved the Mayor/Council-sought "Measure A" sales tax increase in June 2016. In FY 17, the City Council restored 17 out of 208 officers that taxpayers previously received (leaving LB neighborhoods with 191 fewer budgeted officers than the City previously provided.) LB's current per capita citywide deployable police level is roughly equivalent to what Los Angeles would have if L.A. erased roughly 30% of LAPD's budgeted officers.

    The proposed budget adds 26 "full time equivalent" contracted officers using overtime (provided by City under contract to/paid by Metro, limited to Metro Blue Line, not deployable citywide during their Metro shifts.) LBPD management says its use of overtime to handle the Metro Blue Line contract won't reduce officers currently deployed in neighborhoods citywide or for other citywide assignments.

    In FY17, Council also restored Fire Engine 8 (Belmont Shore), Paramedic Rescue unit 12 (NLB) and has scheduled and/or begun work on a number of street repair and infrastructure projects citywide.

    In FY17, the Council also approved new contracts containing raises for nearly all City Hall employee groups (including city management.) These included a new contract for LB's police officers' union providing 9% raises over three years (annual cost by FY19 = $14.3 million) that city management said it plans to fund in part in FY17 with "less conservative budgetary actions such as reducing charges for insurance and funding for unfunded retirement liabilities" and leaving FY18 and FY19 costs to future "annual budget processes."

    City management has acknowledgeed that the City faces a deficit in FY19 (spending exceeding expected revenue) but hasn't detailed exactly why. In December 2015, the Council (9-0, with Suja Lowenthal prior to Jeannine Pearce) approved incurring up-front costs with annual escalating annual sums expected to start in mid-2019 to let a private entity tear-down, build and operate for 40+ years a new Civic Center (without the Council seeking bids for a City Hall seismic retrofit.)

    Release of the proposed FY18 spending plan comes as Mayor Garcia and five Council incumbents (Gonzalez, Price, Mungo, Uranga, Richardson) seek re-election in April 2018 (and June if runoffs are required.)

    Developing. Further to follow on




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