Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin. Photo via lacontroller.org
Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin. Photo via lacontroller.org

City Controller Ron Galperin sent a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council Monday urging them to rethink how they view restricted special funds and emerging business enterprises like digital billboards and legalized marijuana.

The letter comes three days before Garcetti is scheduled to present his proposed 2017-18 city budget.

The controller said there have been “missed opportunities” for reimbursements to the general fund for citywide overhead costs from its 900-plus special funds, which are separate from the general fund and have restrictions on how they can be spent.

“We need to take an innovative, long-term approach to managing our budget in good years and bad, which means a closer look at special funds that account for about a third of our total revenues,” Galperin said. “A tighter budget undoubtedly presents challenges in providing services to our residents and businesses, but also opportunities to reform how we do business as a city.”

Galperin also urged Garcetti and the City Council to be creative when drafting new tax guidelines for marijuana, digital billboards and short-term rentals, which are expected bring in tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue each.

The controller also advised against using one-time revenues for ongoing expenses, while advocating for an upgrade to the city’s procurement process to encourage more companies to bid for contracts.

“We need to improve efficiencies, while identifying and capturing new revenues from emerging sources,” Galperin’s letter said.

–City News Service

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