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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
FROM: CITY MANAGER
DATE: OCTOBER 5, 2004
SUBJECT: POSITION ON LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY, EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND CRIME PREVENTION MEASURE
Consider taking a city position on the Los Angeles County Public Safety, Emergency Response and Crime Prevention Measure.
As with many municipal services, public safety and law enforcement are vulnerable to an ever-changing fiscal climate. In the last two years, the Sheriff’s Department’s budget has been cut by more than $160 million with more than 1,000 deputy positions eliminated. The most significant cuts were the COPS and Town Sheriff programs which dedicate deputies to communities’ quality of life issues including gang enforcement. Also eliminated were the Hate Crimes Unit and the VIDA program, a very successful program directed toward at-risk youth. To protect law enforcement from the constant flux in local and state budgets Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca proposed the Los Angeles County Public Safety and Homeland Security Sales Tax Initiative to generate an estimated $500 million annually by increasing the County’s sales tax by one-half cent from 8.25% to 8.75%.
The half cent sales tax revenue would be used for additional personnel for law enforcement, local anti-terrorism, homeland security, intelligence gathering, and first response capabilities to extraordinary emergencies; communications and specialized equipment for law enforcement personnel throughout Los Angeles County and support resources required for regional and countywide mutual-aid effectiveness; expansion of inter-agency coordination and standardized training for public safety services.
The earmarked funds for public safety are not intended to supplant General Fund monies, but to enhance services above FY 03-04 levels. Any unspent funds by a public agency will be held in a public safety reserve trust account established by that entity.
On April 6, 2004, the City Council endorsed support of the "Los Angeles Public Safety and Homeland Security Sales Tax Initiative" to levy ½-cent sales tax for law enforcement needs in the County. Since then, the signature petition efforts were discontinued in favor of the County Board of Supervisors placing the issue on the November ballot. The County Board of Supervisors has modified the original proposal as the result of discussions between the County of Los Angeles, Sheriff’s Department and representatives from municipal law enforcement agencies and city managers throughout the County. The City Council is requested to consider supporting the new version that shall appear on the November ballot as the "Los Angeles County Public Safety, Emergency Response and Crime Prevention Measure" with the following incorporated changes:
The County of Los Angeles Administrative Office has projected an estimated $560 million in proceeds from the half-cent sales tax if approved by two-thirds of qualified voters in the County. The projected allocation for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is $2,305,763.
Assistant to the City Manager
Attachment: County of Los Angeles Ordinance 2004-0041, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Tax Act.