Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Signs Revised $13 Billion Budget – NBC Los Angeles

Mayor Karen Bass signed the city’s revised $13 billion budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year Friday, which she said charts a new course for the city, one that is “stronger, happier, healthier and more safer”.

The budget will go into effect on July 1.

“Just last month, I stood in this room and said that the budget is presented as a reflection of our values ​​and we invest in the most critical needs,” Bass said. “I also said that I was confident that the relationship we had built with a City Council would be a collaborative process.

“That’s what we have here today: coming together to sign the budget.”

There’s a difference between spending and investing, he added, and this budget makes investments to bring people in, improve public safety and other areas that “will pay back in terms of lives saved, in terms of quality of life and better neighborhoods.” , and that will save the city in the long run.”

She thanked Council Speaker Paul Krekorian, City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, Chairman of the Council’s Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee, and the rest of the Council for “sitting by” with her and passing a budget that will “bring the urgency of the crisis we face”.

City Council President Paul Krekorian said the budget invests in “basic infrastructure and quality of life.”

The budget will fund basic services needed by people in Los Angeles, such as improving the environment, and lay the foundation for post-COVID economic recovery, he added.

Councilor Pro-Temp Curren Price reiterated that the budget represents “our shared value, shared commitment and utter determination to get the job done.”

The Mayor signed the revised $13 billion budget following a City Council vote earlier this week to approve her revised version of her spending plan originally proposed earlier this week.

After weeks of deliberations, hours of public comment and final revisions, the Council voted 13-1 on May 18 to approve its amended version of the mayor’s budget. The final version includes an unprecedented $1.3 billion to address housing and homelessness and about $3.2 billion for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Krekorian said in a statement that the council “relied on the general outline of the budget proposed by the mayor” with amendments to ensure “transparency and accountability” in city spending. The 2023-24 budget exceeds $13 billion for the first time, an increase of $1.31 billion, or 11%, from the previous fiscal year and includes $566 million in a reserve fund.

Councilwoman Eunissess Hernandez was the only one who voted “no”. She said that while there are some “major investments” in the budget, it “fell short” in meeting the needs of Angelenos.

“We talked over and over again about how we can improve and fund these desperately needed programs and services because we wanted to create something that would reflect the needs of a very diverse city,” Hernández told colleagues on voting day.

“I have to say that I am disappointed with the outcome of this process. When we have a budget that allocates 25% of our money to surveillance, we are not creating a budget that reflects our values ​​and the demands that we receive every day from our constituents.”

Bass said she hasn’t been able to speak with Hernandez about the budget, as the councilwoman was visiting Vienna with Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson to see different housing models.

Other Council members supported the budget and applauded the investments outlined in it. Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez said in a statement that it was the “most progressive budget in Los Angeles history.”

He noted that direct funding for the LAPD decreased by approximately $22 million compared to last year, and the budget will invest $16 million in funding for alternative crisis response programs, compared to just $8 million last year.

Among the major budget lines are those that address the homelessness emergency, including $250 million for the Mayor’s Inside Safe program, with $65.7 million allocated initially and $184.3 million to be released as funds are spent. money. Once the Inside Safe account falls below $25 million, the account will automatically replenish up to $50 million.

The plan gives the Council the ability to stop the replenishment of the Inside Safe account, for example, if members want more information on how the funds are being spent or details of ongoing operations. Bass’s office would also have to provide biweekly progress reports beginning June 1.

“That gives the mayor authority and access to funds to be able to move quickly and with nothing to stop him, but it also gives the council that role, that they have been given in this position, to have that oversight and responsibility.” Blumenfield said.

The budget will invest in affordable and supportive housing, funding for more personnel (police, firefighters, first responders, unarmed mental health first responders, and civilian personnel), and make “necessary investments” in pedestrian safety, traffic, and city infrastructure.

With the revised budget, the Council and Mayor seek to restore the LAPD staffing to a minimum of 9,500 officers, with two full classes of recruits in training and additional funding for retired police officers to return to active duty for 12 months. , hire additional civilian staff, and increase staffing for 911 dispatch services.

About $1 million has been programmed to expedite the application process for candidates seeking to join the Los Angeles Police Department. The city budget will also fund an incentive program that offers bonuses of up to $15,000 for new officers and lateral recruiting.

“We are going to hire this number of officers. It even seems ambitious, when we leaned in and said yes, we’re going to fully fund it,” Blumenfield said. “We are going to fully fund our police department.”

Other highlights, the councilor said, were investments to address the problem “of our time”: climate change. The budget invests more than $25 million in decarbonizing city buildings and electrifying the city’s vehicle fleet.