Inglewood’s latest budget indicates the city’s financials are much better than the officials elected in early August, when they declared a fiscal emergency and made two tax hikes on the November ballot.
Actually, Budget for 2021-22 Financial Year Adopted last week. The budget estimates revenue of $152.5 million this year, compared to about $130 million received before the pandemic in 2018-19. The property tax alone has increased by 112% compared to five years ago.
Although Inglewood still anticipates a deficit of more than $9.8 million by the end of the fiscal year, the red ink appears to be coming from outside-the-budget, general spending rather than a fall in revenue related to the pandemic.
Inglewood’s 2021-22 budget totals $160 million from the General Fund, about $21 million more than the previous year. The largest of the new expenses included a $5.7 million increase in pay and benefits, an $8.1 million increase in the Police Department budget, and $1.6 million for renovations to the long-closed Morningside Park Library.
An analysis of 10 years of Inglewood’s budget shows that the city’s spending has increased by an average of about $10.7 million annually. According to the data, Inglewood would have a surplus of $5.8 million if the city’s spending was after the 2021-22 average.
When asked why voters should support tax increases—general spending, Inglewood City manager Artie Fields accused a reporter of having “racist tendencies”. “We are presenting the full funding budget from this point forward.”
In a follow-up email, Fields detailed that the city’s spending “will meet deferred capital maintenance projects that can no longer be delayed,” including a $4.5 million rebuild of the Police Department’s locker room and one at the maintenance center. Leaky roof repair. He said the city also plans to fill about $4.3 million in vacancies.
“With sports and entertainment exploding in England, it is absolutely necessary to fully fund the city staff in which we placed vacancies. Balance earlier budgets,” Fields said.
He did not answer questions about whether he still considered the city to be in a financial emergency.
‘Excess spending and mismanagement’
Inglewood Treasurer Wanda Brown, whose clashes with Mayor James T. Butts Jr. prompted her to file a $10 million lawsuit against the city, alleges that the fiscal emergency is the latest attempt to mislead the public of Inglewood’s financials. Situation. Brown said she tried to warn officers about spending over the years, but instead of getting support, she alleged she was ostracized and her pay was cut.
The pandemic made city officials blame something else for Inglewood’s shortage, she said. “It’s definitely over-spending and mismanagement, there’s no ifs or buts about it,” she said. In Inglewood’s case two—on the ballot.
Measure H would increase the tax on hotel rooms by 1.5%, making Inglewood in line with Santa Monica, Culver City and Los Angeles. Measure I would create a tiered tax on asset transfers, which would only increase sales by more than $1.1 million. These measures will raise about $4.5 million each year.
According to Brown, he had received calls from residents asking how the money would be spent. The language of the ballot stated broadly that the measures would “address the homelessness,” “easier traffic,” “keep public areas safe/clean” and “increase affordable housing,” among other things.
Also, Inglewood is in the process of seeking funding for a billion-dollar people mover that will take visitors and residents from the subway line to Market Street, Sophie Stadium, the Forum and back. Originally, a consultant hired by the city suggested two tax increases as a possible funding source for the transportation system, the record showed. But when Inglewood declared its financial emergency and put the measures on the ballot, the city’s assistant finance director said it needed to address the “immediate funding issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic” and its “long-term financial planning needs”. money was needed.< /p>
The city argues that Measure I, which is the more controversial of the two, will not affect the majority of homeowners, instead targeting commercial properties and multifamily dwellings, and only the location of sale.
Opponents of the measure disagree. In a statement, resident Cindy Giardina, a former councilwoman and school board member who filed an argument against Measure I, described the evergreen measure as a “Venus flytrap” that would ultimately limit residents’ assets by essentially Will latch if exceeded. He argued that the current residents could avoid it, but their successors would not.
“As with all development in Inglewood, the stadium is up and running, and major Inglewood companies are reporting trillions in income during this time. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s financial losses are due to faulty decisions,” Giardina said in a statement. said in. of tax on their tenants.
The effects of the pandemic are overstated
Inglewood’s newly adopted budget is in line with a recent report from the California State Auditor’s Office, which found that the economic destruction—and the gloom surrounding the pandemic—was over. The report predicts that Inglewood will see only a $4 million reduction in revenue from 2019 to 2022 specifically because of the pandemic. Inglewood, and The report found that most other cities, “will get stimulus money far more than what was lost during the pandemic” and should consider cutting taxes rather than increasing them.
Budget for 2021-22 $31 million Inglewood will receive it from Uncle Sam, even though $16 million of that incentive has been lying in the city’s treasury since July. Money was never mentioned during Inglewood’s presentations about the financial emergency.
Fields said the city is still waiting for guidance from the federal government. Yet the US Treasury issued an “interim final rule” detailing how the money could be spent in May.
Inglewood will receive the second half of the stimulus in July 2022, before the end of the fiscal year. According to the US Treasury, the funds should be earmarked by 2024 and spent by 2026.
If projected losses still exist at the end of the year, Inglewood will cover that gap with $63 million in reserves the city has made up. bond amount meant to pay off his pension debt.