Short answer: $128 million, over $3,500 per resident, with more spent on day-to-day operations than in the current budget and less on longer-term capital projects

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The City of West Hollywood has proposed a $128 million budget for fiscal year 2018, which runs from July 2017 through June 2018. The day-to-day operating budget is more than $121 million. The budget for longer-term capital projects is over $6 million.


Where the money comes from

Taxes and other revenues are expected to cover $125 million of the budget. The remaining $3 million will come from reserves (money the City saved up in prior years).

The City’s biggest source of revenue is the transient occupancy (hotel) tax. The City expects to collect about $26 million in hotel taxes in the coming fiscal year. Other big sources of revenue include property taxes ($17 million), sales taxes ($16 million), and parking meters and fines ($13 million).

Sources: City of West Hollywood, Preliminary City Manager Recommended Budget, May 15, 2017; our analysis.


Where the money goes

The proposed spending plan includes $61 million for contracted services such as the sheriff, $38 million to pay the city staff, $13 million in payments on the city’s debt, and $9 million for all other operating costs.

It also includes $6 million for longer-term capital projects. Capital projects involve buying, building, or repairing major assets. The new recreation center and park improvements aren’t included, since that funding has already been approved.

Note: Internal transfers are excluded from the total. Sources: Same as above.

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 following page from the budget shows the proposed operating expenditures for each division.

Note: The total differs from $128 million because it includes internal transfers in the General Accounting and Parking divisions and excludes capital projects. Sources: Same as above.


Budget growth

We estimated budget growth based on our understanding of the numbers in the City’s budget proposal and open data website. The FY2018 operating budget (everything but capital projects) appears to be 4% higher than FY2017 and 21% higher than FY2015.

Within that total, debt payments rose 45% over three years. Contracted services such as the sheriff increased 8% in a year and 26% in three years. Spending on wages and fringe benefits increased 7% from the current year and 20% over three years. Other operating costs dropped 18% since FY2015.

Spending on capital projects is down as much as 59% versus the current year (not counting the recreation center) and 66% versus FY2015. If these estimates are correct, than the total budget is down 3% from the current year and up 7% from three years ago.

Note: Excludes internal transfers. Sources: City of West Hollywood, Preliminary City Manager Recommended Budget, May 15, 2017 (pages 32 and 33 for totals, page 35 for uses); City of West Hollywood, Open Data, Budget Expenditure Detail FY15-18 (for FY2015 spending on capital projects); our analysis.


Priorities implicit in budgeted amounts

We can get a sense of the City’s priorities from the amounts budgeted for each division. The $128 million total works out to about $3,560 per resident. The biggest piece — about $570 per resident — is for the sheriff. The next biggest amounts are for the City’s facilities ($330), parking ($310), social services and transit ($305), and streets and sewers ($220). We’ll also add recreation to this list, given the City’s current investment in a new recreation center and park improvements.

Note: Includes capital projects, excludes debt service and internal transfers. Sources: City of West Hollywood, Open Data, Budget Expenditure Detail FY15-18; California Department of Finance population estimate for January 1, 2017; our analysis.


Priorities implicit in budget increases

We can also see the City’s priorities in the distribution of budget increases among divisions. The last budget (FY2017) prioritized new recreation and cultural facilities, streets and sidewalks, social services and transit, parking, and public safety (see our earlier report).

For the new year (FY2018), budget increases are clustered in areas such as:

  • Public safety, including a $750,000 increase in sheriff’s staffing costs, $135,000 for more patrols by sheriff’s deputies, $100,000 for more security ambassadors, and $635,000 for increased security at Pride and Halloween
  • City facilities, including $1.2 million for improvements to City Hall, money for the Coast Playhouse and temporary office space at Koontz, and $150,000 for micro-parks
  • Social services and transit, including a $325,000 increase in social services grants, $125,000 for a mental health professional teamed with a sheriff’s deputy, $100,000 for a new community needs assessment, and money for a Sunset entertainment shuttle pilot
  • Planning, including $200,000 for urban design reviews, $100,000 for single-family housing design guidelines, more funding for historic preservation efforts, and $300,000 for Sunset strip improvements
  • Economic development, including a $750,000 increase for Visit West Hollywood, a new arts grant coordinator, and increased support for special events


David WarrenBudgetPerformance (effort)crime,development,economic development,facilities,low income,parking,streets,transit
Short answer: $128 million, over $3,500 per resident, with more spent on day-to-day operations than in the current budget and less on longer-term capital projects| The City of West Hollywood has proposed a $128 million budget for fiscal year 2018, which runs from July 2017 through June 2018. The...