Councilmember Huizar fought to add funding for long-sought after Dog Park at Eagle Rock Rec Center and other CD14 priorities – City reduces structural deficit while increasing homelessness funding and others services -Reserve “Rainy Day Funds” increased to unprecedented $322 million
(LOS ANGELES) May 19, 2016 – The City Council approved its $8.76 billion fiscal year 2016-2017 budget today, which represents a 2% increase from last year’s budget as the City’s funding projections and economic growth continue to improve. Councilmember Huizar, the City Council and Mayor remain steadfast in reducing the City’s overall structural deficit, now at less than $90 million while increasing services and the City’s Reserve “Rainy Funds” to its highest level ever, at $322 million.
During Council Budget Committee deliberations, Huizar fought to add an estimated $800,000 to the budget under the City’s “Capital Improvement Expenditure Program” tofund a dog park at Eagle Rock Recreation Center, something local residents have requested. The dog park can now move forward toward a formal design. Councilmember Huizar will work with Recreation and Parks on an approval and construction timeline.
A number of other CD14 priorities were also funded.
“This budget represents a step forward in our city’s commitment to fiscal responsibility while ensuring we increase funding and resources to priorities to reduce homelessness, crime and graffiti, as well an increase in basic services and sidewalk repair,” said Councilmember Huizar. “While more is needed, particularly to address homelessness, I am pleased that my office successfully fought to make sure the CAO’s office funded our Homeless Coordinator position, as well additional CD14 projects, including adding a dog park in Eagle Rock and maintenance funds to ensure Skid Row’s Gladys Park continues to serve that community’s needs. The funding for the new 6th Street Bridge park space is something we fought for, which will serve our communities and the city’s needs for many years to come.”
As the original chair and now vice-chair of the City’s unprecedented Homelessness & Poverty (H&P) committee, Huizar is one of the chief architects of the City’s homeless strategy and while some of the funds to address homelessness are not yet determined or approved, Huizar supported adding $65 million from the general fund today. Along with $15 million earmarked, the City’s total homeless funding now has a baseline of $80 million, with well over $100 million possible in the near future. The CAO’s office has budgeted funds that will include a full-time Homeless Czar or Coordinator – in support of legislation Councilmember Huizar authored and the City Council approved to create such a position to address homelessness Citywide.
Councilmember Huizar and H&P Chair Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson continue to support a ballot measure to create a dedicated revenue source for the more than $1.85 billion that will be needed in long-term funding to adequately address homelessness.
Other City and CD 14 budget highlights include:
More LAPD officers will be able to return to street patrols with the hiring of 300 civilians to do administrative and support services that are currently done by uniformed officers.
Increased Graffiti Removal: $1.5 million added for 13 new strike teams to help address the increased demand in graffiti removals, bringing full budget to $8.5 million.
Cleaner Park Bathrooms: Enough money for multiple daily cleanings of at least 50 of the City’s highest use park bathrooms. Normally park bathrooms are only cleaned once a day.
Community Plan updates: $1.9 million to fund two dozen positions in the Planning Department – something Councilmember Huizar, as Chair of PLUM, Council President Wesson, Mayor Garcetti and others called for recently to define and set clear zoning requirements and needs for the City’s many unique neighborhoods.
Clean Streets (citywide): The budget allocates $1.6 million to add a fourth Clean Streets team to help address unclean streets and homeless encampments and for 15 cameras to help catch illegal dumping violators, a program that was successfully piloted by Councilmember Huizar and the City Attorney’s office.
Sidewalk Program: $11 million in funding is provided for five crews to address sidewalks with accessibility challenges for the disabled and other high-liability locations. $6 million is also set aside to split the costs with property owners who want to repair their own sidewalks.
Vision Zero: The budget includes various pots of money to survey high-risk areas and design improvements, and to create 20 new pedestrian refuge islands and 20 new bus refuge islands to meet the City’s goal of zero pedestrian deaths.
Street Lighting: Funding for pedestrian lighting at 20 bus stops, lighting at mid-block crosswalks, and lighting at the top 50 schools in the Safe Routes to School program.
Tree Trimming: funding for City crews to remove dead street trees and tree-stumps and to do more tree trimming.
- Sixth Street Viaduct: $2.3 million was added to budget to continue to realize the park master plan for the new bridge.
- Gladys Park $158,000 for maintenance and security funding.
- Eagle Rock Dog Park: Councilmember Huizar fought hard to ensure that an Eagle Rock Dog Park would be funded as part of the “Capital Improvement Expenditure Program.” Estimated at $800K, the dog park can now move forward.
And earlier this year, during the City’s CDBG funding cycle, several parks in El Sereno and Boyle Heights also received funds:
- El Sereno Recreation Center $200,000 in additional CDBG funds for improvements – bringing the three year total to $1.5 million.
- Wabash Recreation Center $350,000 in CDBG funding for improvements.
- Ramon Garcia Recreation Center $300,000 in CDBG funding for improvements.