Short answer: Half on policing, social services & transit, facilities maintenance, parking, streets & sanitation, and economic development

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West Hollywood is about to release a new two-year budget, so it’s a good time to ask how the City spends its money. Answers can be found on the City’s open data website. The most recent spending detail is from the proposed budget for fiscal year 2016, which ends this month.

By our tally, the budget called for $113 million in FY2016 spending, excluding $10 million of transfers among City funds. So the City spent $107 million on operations and $6 million on capital projects, such as street and sidewalk repairs.

We converted the spending numbers to dollars per resident, to make it easier to think about spending versus value. The 2016 total was a little over $3,100 per resident for all City services and capital projects.

Notes: (a) The totals from the detailed data don’t necessarily match the totals in other City documents. (b) We are assuming that all “Other Financing Uses” are internal transfers. Sources: City of West Hollywood Open Data, Budget Expenditure Detail FY13-16, accessed May, 2016; State of California, Department of Finance, E-4 Population Estimates for Cities, Counties, and the State, 2011-2016, with 2010 Census Benchmark. Sacramento, California, May 2016; our analysis.


Spending by category

Another way to answer the question is to look at what kinds of things the City was paying for. Of the roughly $3,100 per resident, almost half — over $1,400 — went to contracted services. The biggest contract was with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It cost about $500 per resident. There were also large construction, tourism, transit, and parking enforcement contracts. A full list can be found in our article, What services does West Hollywood contract for?.

Sources: Same as above.

The rest of the money was used to pay City employees (over $900 per resident), pay interest and principal on the City’s debt (less than $400), cover other operating costs (over $200), and fund capital projects (less than $200).


Spending by division

The City staff is organized into divisions. Each division is responsible for delivering particular City services, either to the public (e.g., parking) or to other divisions (e.g., human resources). The distribution of spending among divisions gives a more detailed picture of how the City is spending its money.

The chart below shows the spending per resident for the 15 divisions with the highest spending, regardless of where their funding comes from. The top division was Police/Protective Services (Sheriff) at almost $500 per resident. The next five were Social Services ($250 per resident), Facilities & Landscaping (about $225), Parking (over $200), City Engineering (also over $200), and Economic Development (about $200). Together, these divisions represented half of the $3,100 in spending per resident.

Notes: Includes capital projects. Excludes “other financing uses” on the assumption they are all internal transfers. Excludes payments on the City’s debt because those payments come from the Finance budget, regardless of which division originally used the borrowed money, so they don’t tell us anything about spending priorities. Sources: Same as above.

Keep in mind:

  • Social Services includes the City’s transit contracts
  • Parking includes the parking enforcement contract
  • City Engineering includes sanitation, sewers, streets, and the red light photo enforcement contract
  • Economic Development includes the Visit West Hollywood contract
  • Public Safety Administration includes the Security Ambassador contract
  • Fire protection isn’t listed because it isn’t funded out of the City budget


http://wehobythenumbers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/201606-spending-per-resident-by-division.jpghttp://wehobythenumbers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/201606-spending-per-resident-by-division-300x300.jpgDavid WarrenBudgetBusinessHealth and social servicesPerformance (effort)Public safetyTransportationcrime,economic development,facilities,streets
Short answer: Half on policing, social services & transit, facilities maintenance, parking, streets & sanitation, and economic development| West Hollywood is about to release a new two-year budget, so it's a good time to ask how the City spends its money. Answers can be found on the City's open...