Neighborhood councils of the City of Los Angeles may be given an additional $100,000 each to be used for street repairs under the city budget proposed by Mayor James Hahn.
Only hours before a televised mayoral debate Monday, February 7th, Hahn announced his plans to give the certified Neighborhood Councils across the city control of at least $7.5 million to fix city streets.
“Nobody knows what neighborhoods need more than the Neighborhood Councils that represent them,” Hahn said. “I am turning the control of $100,000 of street repairs over to each Neighborhood Council, for them to use as they see fit within their own communities.”
When participating in the city’s priority-based budget process last year, Neighborhood Councils throughout the city ranked street services as one of their top two priorities, said Sahar Moridani, press deputy for the mayor’s office.
The $100,000 proposed for the councils would be allocated in addition to the annual budget of $50,000 that the 85 certified neighborhood councils already receive for operating costs and community projects.
Neighborhood councils will be allowed to use the additional $100,000 only for various street repairs, Moridani said.
The councils can choose to spend the money to repave streets, slurry-seal miles of road or even join with another Neighborhood Council to resurface long thoroughfares or streets where the community boundaries meet.
The mayor’s office decided in recent weeks to plan to give the additional funds to Neighborhood Councils after it was discovered that the city’s gasoline tax revenue is expected to be about $7.5 million to $9 million more for this year and next year, Moridani said.
“It’s not because of higher gas prices but because people are buying more gas,” she said.
When deciding what to do with the additional revenue, the mayor felt it was better for the city to give control of the money to Neighborhood Councils for one of their top priorities, she said.
The plans to give $100,000 to each certified Neighborhood Council are part of the proposed city budget, which must be approved by the City Council.
The city Bureau of Street Services, which does the street repair work for the city, will help the Neighborhood Councils decide the best options for the money, in addition to providing an assessment of street conditions within the Neighborhood Council boundaries, she said.
The ultimate choice of how to spend the $100,000 will be up to the respective Neighborhood Council, she said.
“It’s ultimately about letting the Neighborhood Councils figure out where to spend the money,” Moridani said. “It’s a big step forward in giving local control to the Neighborhood Councils.”