Mayor Karen Bass is expected to sign the city’s revised $13 billion budget for fiscal year 2023-24, following a City Council vote earlier this week to approve her amended version of her proposed spending plan. originally.
After weeks of deliberations, hours of public comment and final revisions, the council voted 13-1 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.
“Wednesday’s council vote will allow our city to expand on the strategies my office has already begun to implement to meet the homelessness emergency with the urgency we need, boldly advance new methods to make our neighborhoods safer and strengthen our city’s infrastructure to continue to combat climate change and improve city services,” Bass said in a statement.
She thanked council president Paul Krekorian, city councilman Bob Blumenfield, chair of the council’s Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee, and the rest of the council for “sitting their arms around” her.
The budget will go into effect on July 1. 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 “significant 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,” Hernandez 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 the police, we are not creating a budget that reflects our values and the demands that we receive every day from our constituents. “.
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.
The budget will invest in affordable and supportive housing, funding for more personnel: police officers, firefighters, first responders, unarmed mental health responders, and civilian personnel, and make “necessary investments” in pedestrian safety, traffic, and street infrastructure. city.
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.