Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

OCTOBER 5, 2004 POSITION ON LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY, EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND CRIME PREVENTION MEASURE OCTOBER 5, 2004 POSITION ON LOS ANGELES COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY, EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND CRIME PREVENTION MEASURE

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

RECOMMENDATION

Consider taking a city position on the Los Angeles County Public Safety, Emergency Response and Crime Prevention Measure.

BACKGROUND

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.

DISCUSSION

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:

  • Provides that the Board of Supervisors may, under certain circumstances, suspend the sales tax levy after ten years (FY2015-2016). Any suspension shall not take effect until three years after the Board’s approval.
  • Requires the County and cities to maintain a Maintenance of Effort (based upon FY03-04 level of public safety services) that may be adjusted annually in accordance with the Consumer Price Index up to a maximum adjustment of three percent.
  • Provides that the Board of Supervisors annually determine the amount to be set aside for interoperability, up to two percent to provide for communications and specialized equipment.
  • Provides that nine percent of the funds be allocated for the Sheriff Department’s custody operations.
  • Provides that six percent of the funds be allocated for other law enforcement and justice related purposes including defense costs and probation services.
  • Distributed the remaining funds to the unincorporated area and all incorporated cities with a minimum allocation of $500,000 with a provision for annual adjustment according to the CPI (not to exceed three percent).
  • Includes as eligible funding crime prevention activities for youth and adults.
  • Requires each entity authorized to receive funds to annually adopt an accounting of fund used and held in reserve.
  • Provides that each entity retain unspent funds in a trust account, and annually determine the amount in those funds to be appropriated for purposes identified in the County ordinance.
  • Provides that the Auditor-Controller may audit any public entity receiving funds to determine compliance with the County ordinance.
  • Expands the Oversight Committee to include an appointee of the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, an appointee of the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, a representative of the Independent City Managers Association, the City of Long Beach City Manager, and a representative of the Los Angeles Fire Chiefs Association, in addition to the originally proposed representatives--a city manager and finance director from the League of California Cities, Los Angeles Division, the President of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association, the Sheriff of Los Angeles County and a contract city manager from the California Contract Cities Association.

FISCAL IMPACT

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.

PREPARED BY

Gina Park

Assistant to the City Manager

APPROVED BY

Les Evans

City Manager

Attachment: County of Los Angeles Ordinance 2004-0041, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Tax Act.