Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The 2005-6 City Budget

After more than 40 hours of deliberation, the Budget Committee of the City Council has finished making its recommendations. The budget, which consists of adjustments made to the original budget proposed by the Mayor, will next be forwarded to the entire City Council for approval. Here are some of the things that I personally fought for in this budget, that the committee passed today:

  • $500,000 to establish a citywide version of Uniting Neighborhoods To Abolish Graffiti (UNTAG), our highly successful, volunteer-based, CD13-grown initiative
  • $100,000 for the Neighborhood Land Trust, which turns small lots into community parks
  • $500,000 for Domestic Abuse Response Teams (DART), intervention teams that roll-out on domestic violence calls and help survivors of abuse extricate themselves from dangerous home situations
  • Restoration of all of the Fire Department's 10-member task forces and of a 24-hour ambulance presence in all fire station houses
  • $741,000 for the creation of a Department of Gang Violence and Youth Development, an idea, originated by my colleague Martin Ludlow, whose time has come
  • $608,000 for 9 city planners, one of whom will implement the Silver Lake-Echo Park Community Plan update
  • 23 positions and funding for illegal sign enforcement program, which will encourage creative signage in commercial areas while relieving our neighborhoods of ugly, illegal advertisements
  • $50,000 for a street light on Santa Monica Boulevard, to prevent future accidents like the one that took the life of 9-year-old Seily Rodriguez

Also of note:

  • End of the citywide hiring freeze, enabling departments to better serve the public
  • $1.5 million in new materials for our libraries (after all, what good is a brand-new library without any books?)
  • 5% increase in planning fees, which will help us hire new planners and eradicate the backlog in the planning department
  • Boosted the reserve fund to about 3.5%, the highest rate in years