The City Council voted today on the Mayor’s Budget for fiscal year 2014-2015. Although we are still climbing out of a stubborn recession, I was able to secure some funding for several community improvements across the great 13th District.
This year, we continue to tighten our belts, and maintain or increase core municipal services while continuing to implement fiscally responsible measures and long-term reforms. Once signed by the mayor, this budget will increase funding for hiring in the Los Angeles Fire Department. This will have a direct impact on the residents of Los Angeles by ensuring the council focuses on first responders, and getting more boots on the ground and in our neighborhoods. This budget also directs more funds for Street Services to maintain medians, fill pot-holes, pave streets, trim trees, and restore funding for graffiti abatement.
I am particularly grateful that I was able to obtain funds for some key expenses in this budget: $450,000 so we can finally open the Echo Park Senior Center at Sandra Cisneros Charter School; restore funding within the AIDS coordinator section of the Department on Disability; add positions in the Department of Transportation’s permit parking section to cut down on the backlog of requests; restore $300,000 to the Arts and Culture Trust Fund for the continued support of the arts in LA; and in my continued push for the Revitalization of the Los Angeles River, the Council agreed to grant the Bureau of Engineering’s River Office two permanent positions.
In addition, my staff and I have been diligent in laying the groundwork to address the affordable housing crisis. Through my efforts, I am drawing attention to the need for more affordable housing. This Budget would set aside a portion of revenues from the sale of surplus properties formerly owned by the recently dissolved Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). I also introduced a motion that will begin a plan to establish a dedicated, permanent funding source from the former CRA’s tax increment funds and earmarking a percentage for the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. [SEE: MITCH O'FARRELL ANNOUNCES AFFORDABLE HOUSING INITIATIVES]
Over the next few months, we will continue to implement structural reforms, and find other ways to make our City government leaner, smarter, and more efficient. As your councilmember, I am committed to improving the quality of life for all constituents in the 13th District. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.