Let’s face it, being on the City Council requires long hours, with essentially no compensation. My hat’s off to them. It is now the end of the fiscal year with a new proposed budget for the upcoming year and projections ahead. We in Culver City are facing two severe financial threats, not of the City’s making: the pension fund formula and the need to discharge clean storm water. In response, Culver City voters passed a parcel tax and an increase in sales tax. The voters did the right thing. Now the City Council has its obligation to be financially prudent. Of course, no one wants any service reduced. Here are specific ways to keep services and make wise cuts:
Replace Acceptable Landscaping with Acceptable Landscaping–$500,000
This was written about previously. Enough said.
Pay LM University to “Study” Local Coyote Behavior–$200,000
This mostly unpopular program will take three years. The only guarantee of results will be a list of recommendations, basically to follow existing Culver City Coyote Management Program. Any problem coyote that is killed off will likely be replaced by another coyote with the same behavior. The study will not protect pets or reduce attacks onto pets.
Install Solar Electrical Panels at Vets Auditorium and Senior Center and Heat the Water in The Plunge–$100.000
This takes Culver City’s power off the grid: can use reliable sun power so that these facilities can be used as a safe, usable place of refuge. Better yet, most of the cost should be paid for in a grant. The problem is that the City looked only to one vendor with limited design criteria. 40% of the electric panels would be used to heat the pools and panels would need to be placed on the roof of the Vets building. A much less costly and more reliable design is to expand the existing non-electric water solar system at the Plunge—no need for reef panels on top of Vets.
Hire Yet Another Unneeded Animal Control Officer, and Equipment–$200,000
The Police Chief and the City Manager does not want this. First, some background. Some years ago, an older City Council concluded there was sufficient need to hire a person to perform these services rather than pay the County. She/he would be responsible to collect pet licensing fees. Thus, the program would pay for itself. Now it is 2019, and the program does not function as expected. Animal Control does not do a good fee collection During off-hours, the fees charged to the City has skyrocketed. The simple solution to hire another officer is a flawed idea. The Police Chief pointed out that there is a better solution used in nearby El Segundo. They have a wonderful Animal Control Program using no designated Animal Control Officer and they rarely ever call LA County. Hail to the Chief! Oh did I mention, Culver City will also pay pension benefits for Animal Control from now to nearly the end of this century. Ouch!
Here is Yet Another Strange Amortization “Study” Items Related to the Inglewood Oil Field–$400,000
Instead of placing this on the City Council as an Action item were there would be robust discussion, it was buried as a Consent Item with no normal attachments, explaining what was being studied, the final costs, the cost of removing polluted soil, used equipment, slat drilling, loss of oil revenue. The City has strived to eliminate nearby oil production. Since only a small part of the field in in Culver City, would the elimination of drilling reduce the City’s exposure sufficiently? Potentially we a talking millions of dollars. If that is the case, it should show up in the budget as a third massive bill we must pay. There is nothing like this in the budget. Or, there will not be any massive bill. In which case the $400,00 study should be cut.
One last thought, in a short period of time, Culver City voters will be asked to make the “temporary” sales tax permanent. The City Council must step up to the plate and act prudently or else the voters could rebel….. Do the right thing City Council!