Jamaican Delegation, City Finances Dominate Agenda

Thursday, July 30, 2015 Written by 
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At Tuesday’s council meeting, a public hearing was held to consider adopting a resolution to approve Inglewood’s annual Local Department Report for 2015.  The report is required by the state to monitor the impact of local growth in cities and the impact on transportation. There were no public comments. 


A second public hearing related to delinquent refuse and sewer accounts, scheduled for direct property tax assessment, was rescheduled to August 18, 2015 at 2pm.  A public hearing was set for August 25, 2015 to approve an amendment to the Inglewood Municipal Code.


Council members approved an agreement to develop an updated plan for bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists and public transportation. The plan will take into account the future Metro Rail project.


All bids submitted to purchase and install flooring at the City of Inglewood Veterans Center, approved by the City council on December 16, 2014, were rejected.  The 9th Floor Executive Conference Room will be renovated.  The City agreed to hire Worxtime LLC for the administration, eligibility, and employer mandate requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  The council voted to replace an I-Line Trolley with one Villager Hometown Trolley vehicle; approve expenditures for a police grant; and award a public works contract to repair two motors and replace a pump at the City’s water treatment plant. The City will receive a transportation grant from the MTA for reimbursement of various costs.  More contracts were approved to sound-insulate homes in Inglewood.


An ordinance was adopted to secure property tax rates for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2015.  Mayor James Butts noted that the council’s action would not affect current property tax rates.  “It would only change if there was a reassessment by the county assessor based on property taxes rising,” he said. 


Mayor Butts was given the green light to execute an amendment to a lease agreement with Thrifty Oil Co.


City Manager Artie Fields reported that planning permits have increased over 60 percent since the 3rd quarter of 2014.  Home values have increased from an average of $252,164 during the first quarter of 2012, to the most recent average price of $415,227. 


City Treasurer Wanda Brown reported good financial news for the City.  As of June 30, 2015, the Fabulous Forum has produced $979,380 in admissions, parking and business tax.  The Forum reopened in January 2014.  The City has also collected $16,334,831 in sales taxes; $21,421,489 in property taxes; $5,099,547 in business license fees; $1,382,984 in permits; $3,175,858 in hotel occupancy fees; and $12,628,782 in utility fees.


Thursday, August 6 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  City Clerk Yvonne Horton presented a brief history.  “In 1965 President (Lyndon) Johnson signed into law voting rights.  In 2006, President George W. Bush reauthorized the Act and extended protection for another 25 years.”  Horton’s office is offering the public commemorative packets which chronicle the history of voting rights, which include a literacy test which African Americans had to pass in order to vote.  Packets are available in the Clerk’s office. 


A woman wants rent control in Inglewood.  She is concerned about what will happen to renters when new business developments are complete. “That’s a big concern.  I wish someone could speak to me. Santa Monica has rent control.  Our utilities are high,” she said.  She also complained about streets and alleys.  “The alleys are dirty now.  But you have the stadium coming, and when you get Inglewood the way you want it, all of that will go away.”


The woman provided her contact information for follow up.  Councilman George Dotson addressed her concerns in his closing comments:   “To the lady who mentioned the alley, we are going to be working on the alleys.  But, like anything else, it is budget-driven.”  He also mentioned last week’s Special Olympics ceremony.  The City of Inglewood hosted the Jamaican Olympian team.  “The Jamaican team was wonderful.  Right now, to show you how good they are doing, right now they have two gold and two silver medals, because we treated them so good here in Inglewood.” 


Councilman Ralph Franklin praised Mayor James Butts for his “vision and reaching out to the Special Olympics last summer.”  He added, “I want to make sure Melanie McDade is recognized for her efforts.  This was a joint effort.  All the staff and their family volunteered as well as the community,” Franklin said.  The Jamaican delegation of 91 people were treated to sightseeing and dining, including free access to all rides at the Santa Monica Pier.    “I want to thank Chili’s and Red Lobster. They had a surplus of food and because of that, I was able to reach out to the Midnight Mission here in the city.” 


“The midnight mission has an amazing program here in the City of Inglewood,” Councilman Eloy Morales said.  “When there are families in need, they let them live there for a year until they get back on track.  Mel (McDade) did a great job, my staff, the entire staff did such a great job.  We got to meet some of the Olympians.  It gives us an opportunity for us to showcase who we are as a city.”


Mayor Butts also thanked those who had volunteered for the Special Olympics ceremony at the Fabulous Forum.  There were over 500 people there in support of the 90-plus Jamaican Special Olympians.  So many brought their children and families.  This is their (Jamaicans) first time in California.   We had the third largest contingent although we are not the third largest city involved. “


Food Truck Friday is back!  Butts had this to say about last weekend’s event on Market Street:  “It was just a wonderful time.  The (police) officers were   engaged with the public, eating with the public, and it was beautiful.”


The mayor ended the meeting by commenting on a topic of interest to nearly everyone in Inglewood—street construction and repairs:  “We have been engaged in a very aggressive street program.  In District 1, we were there last year, we did sidewalks on the west side.  This year, $5.1 million is being spent on streets west of Crenshaw.   We start with the worst streets first. I just want you to understand it’s not hit or miss.  They are graded and we do the worst street first.”


He reiterated that the council had not voted at the meeting to raise taxes.  “The item we voted on related to property taxes, has no effect on property tax rates.”

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