Councilman Joe Buscaino. Photo by John Schreiber.
Councilman Joe Buscaino. Photo by John Schreiber.

Members of the Los Angeles City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on the 2024 Summer Olympics liked what they saw Friday in the proposed budget for the city to host the Games.

The budget — released recently by the private LA 2024 Bid Committee — is balanced, with projected costs and revenue coming to $5.3 billion.

“It’s an incredible budget that we have before us to land the Games here in Los Angeles,” said Councilman Joe Buscaino.

The committee met to discuss two reports, one from the accounting firm KPMG, which had been asked to independently evaluate the budget, and one from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office. Both reports gave a seal of approval to the budget.

Dee Dee Owens of KPMG told the committee her firm found the budget to be “reasonable, conservative and complete.”

The budget plans for no new permanent venues to be built and will make use of existing sports complexes, as well as some planned by private investors.

The existing venues include an Olympic and Paralympic Village already in place at UCLA, the Long Beach Arena and Convention Center, the Honda Center in Anaheim, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Staples Center and the Rose Bowl. It also makes note of billions in transportation upgrades the city and county already have planned.

“The report further suggests that the strategy of leveraging existing infrastructure significantly reduces the risk profile of the proposed Games concept,” KPMG’s report said.

“While no significant findings were identified, KPMG did stress the importance of vigilant oversight during the years leading up to the Games to ensure continued adherence to the assumptions and estimates made at this stage of the process.”

The LAO report affirmed the budget’s “low-risk financial strategy as it uses existing facilities at UCLA for the Olympic Village and will not require new permanent sports venues to be constructed solely for the purpose of hosting the Games. The LAO finds that this low-risk financial strategy significantly reduces the risk that the Southern California economy would be burdened with large, long-term taxpayer expenses related to the Games.”

Councilman Paul Krekorian praised the major aspects of the budget but raised concerns about venue changes, as not all of the potential sites for events are within the city’s boundaries.

Moving too many of them outside of the city would change the “value equation” for the council, he said.

“Major venue changes will be important to this council and as we go forward we have to continue to have some voice in that discussion… for example, I mean, if we should decide to, I don’t know, move the opening ceremony to the Fairplex in Pomona or something I think that would be something that would not be in the interest of this city to do,” Krekorian said as his comment got a laugh from some of those in attendance, as it was a reference to the recent announcement that Miguel Santana, the city administrative officer, is stepping down from his role to become CEO of the Los Angeles County Fair Association, which manages the Fairplex in Pomona.

While the committee members had praise for the overall budget they still had plenty of questions about some of the details and council President Herb Wesson said the committee would continue the discussions at a later committee meeting in January.

LA 2024 is competing with bid committees in Paris and Budapest, Hungary to bring the Olympics to the Southland in 2024.

The winning city will be announced in September 2017.

— City News Service

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