The City of West Hollywood’s 2016-2017 fiscal year budget as proposed by City Manager Paul Arevalo would focus on enhancing services in five major areas: Safety, mobility and circulation, neighborhood character, vulnerable communities and infrastructure.
Following are areas that Arevalo has called out in a report to the City Council as the most significant proposed spending increases, organized by initiative:
Making Our Communities Safer
Spending here is intended to enhance ongoing efforts. Specific proposals include:
Additional Sheriffs’ Deputies. The city proposes adding two deputies to the general patrol to increase the number of Sheriffs’ deputies on the streets. The proposed budget includes nearly $325,000 next year to begin funding these positions. In addition, the proposed budget includes approximately $730,000 in additional funding for mandatory cost of living and general liability increases in the Sheriff’s contract in fiscal year 2016-17.
Security Ambassadors. Block By Block security ambassadors have been deployed in a number of areas of the city. They add an additional level of security to the city’s streets by taking proactive measures to prevent crimes and by continually engaging with the public. Security ambassadors are deployed on bicycles along Santa Monica Boulevard from Doheny to La Brea and also patrol the alleys and city parking lots in the area. In addition, security ambassadors assist the Sheriff’s Department with identifying and addressing a wide variety of quality of life issues to promote neighborhood livability. Staff recommends adding two additional security ambassadors to the current deployment. The budget proposes to add $220,000 in fiscal year 2016-17 to the existing program.
Medical Services at Major Public Events. The city will expand its provision of emergency medical services with an onsite medical care center at major special events such as Halloween and LA Pride to treat participants with minor medical needs onsite. The onsite center also will also allow emergency medical services and hospitals to focus on the most severely ill patients. The budget proposes approximate $200,000 per year for this program. In fiscal year 2015-16, EMS runs increased by 40% during Halloween and doubled at Pride compared to the prior fiscal year, which was before the addition of another festival day for Pride.
In the proposed budget, the city also has added onsite medical response services in order to better respond to medical incidents at special events. The proposed budget also includes $325,000 to fund the anticipated Fire Department and EMS costs related to special events.
Security Guard Program for Public Meetings and Public Facilities. The budget proposes adding an additional security guard to the existing staffing plan to provide more evening coverage of parks and at city board and commission meetings.
Public Safety Management Analyst. The budget proposes adding a Public Safety Management Analyst to the Public Safety Department to provide additional support and analysis for public safety services.
Crosswalk Safety Improvements. The city will begin construction to add traffic signals to four intersections on Santa Monica Blvd (West Knoll, Westmount, Hancock, and Palm) in order to improve pedestrian safety by replacing existing unsignalized crosswalks. That work also includes reconfiguration of median islands and intersections to improve vehicular access.
The budget proposes spending $1.2 million for this program. In addition, as part of its ongoing work program, the Long Range and Mobility Planning Division will continue to assess and recommend improvements to crosswalks citywide in order to enhance pedestrian safety and improve traffic flow.
Seismic Safety Retrofit Plan Implementation. The Building and Safety Division is in the process of completing a comprehensive
survey and seismic evaluation of the city’s existing building stock. In fiscal year 2016-17, it will bring forward a plan to implement a citywide seismic safety retrofit program.
Improving Mobility and Circulation
Budget increases here are intended to help expand options for bicycle, public transit and pedestrian mobility, improve car movement and expand parking locations and parking credit programs.
Bike Share Implementation. The proposed budget includes $345,000 to fund operating costs for the public bike sharing program, wehoPedal, to maintain 150 bicycles at 15 stations across the city. West Hollywood has secured offsetting revenue from sponsorships, station advertising and program memberships.
Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan Update. This budget cycle, the city plans to complete the Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan Update to identify opportunities to improve connectivity, safety and comfort for people who are biking and walking.
CityLine, Dial-A-Ride & The PickUp Line. The proposed budget includes funding to incorporate the pilot CityLineX service to the Hollywood Highland Red Line Station as a permanent program and to expand The PickUp Line to include year-round Sunday service.
The budget includes approximately $2.3 million for CityLine, CityLineX, and Dial-A-Ride Services. The budget also proposes $610,000 in fiscal year 2016-17 for operation of The PickUp Line, including Sunday service.
Transit program staff also will begin using new grant funding from Metro with city matching funds to replace aging transit vehicles. In addition, major transit programs will go out to competitive bid this year to ensure the city is getting the highest quality at the best cost.
Proposition A Fund Exchanges. The budget continues to include money for the purchase of Proposition A funds allocated to other cities for 65 to 75 cents on the dollar. These funds will be used for the CityLine, Dial-a-Ride, Taxi Coupons, Bus Pass Programs and The PickUp Line, among other things. This purchase will guarantee $1.3 million in Proposition A fund dollars in exchange for $1 million from the city’s General Fund.
Traffic Signal Improvements. The budget proposes multiple improvements to traffic signals across the city. They include spending $350,000 to implement traffic signal technology upgrades on Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue; spending $150,000 to buy and install a system that would let emergency vehicles pre-empt others at select intersections, and spending $125,000 to complete the MTA grant-funded Metro Rapid Bus Program construction involving infrastructure and technology upgrades to 28 intersections with traffic signals.
Electric Vehicle Readiness. West Hollywood is reviewing its capacity for supporting electric vehicles. City staff members will work with the city’s Transportation Commission to explore opportunities for electric vehicle parking incentives and will update the zoning code accordingly.
Investments in City Parking Assets. The proposed budget includes $750,000 to complete environmental remediation, design work and construction of a parking lot at the recently acquired city property on the corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica boulevards.
The budget also proposes spending $100,000 over two years to replace 200 old parking meters with new meters capable of accepting multiple payment forms. The Parking and Long Range & Mobility Planning divisions will also implement a new parking credits district along Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.
Metro Rail Expansion. The budget includes money to continue efforts to position West Hollywood to receive future Measure R2 countywide sales tax fund. This includes refining the project description and budget for the proposed Crenshaw light rail extension to West Hollywood, and raising the level of prioritization of the project within the list of projects to be included in the potential future countywide sales tax measure.
Proposed activities include technical peer review of Metro’s feasibility study and get-out-the-vote canvassing and lobbying services. The budget proposes $275,000 in fiscal year 2016-17 for these efforts.
Traffic Studies. The proposed budget includes ongoing funding to complete neighborhood traffic management studies for residential districts to identify traffic calming solutions.
Maintaining Neighborhood Character
Spending here is intended to support goals including maintaining a balance between urban residential livability, improving the city’s Eastside, providing affordable housing, expanding cultural and arts programming and historic preservation and expanding public outreach.
Historic Surveys. The city is planning to perform an historic resource survey of the R1 zoning district because of increasing development pressure in areas dominated by single-family homes. The survey is expected to streamline the environmental review of proposed projects, standardize assessments,and improve transparency throughout the process. The budget proposes $80,0000 in the next fiscal year for this effort.
Planning, Housing and Rehabilitation Studies. The proposed budget includes $250,000 per year in ongoing funding for long-range planning studies and specific plans. Also an apartment rehabilitation incentives study to develop recommendations and identify potential funding sources for the rehabilitation of aging rental apartments is expected to be completed in this budget cycle. Others expected to be completed include a historic preservation apartment incentives study to develop recommendations and identify incentives and potential funding for rental properties designated as historic resources and a study of innovative housing types and policies to provide more affordable housing. Such innovative housing would include as accessory dwelling units, co-op housing and micro units.
Small Business Initiatives and Services. The budget would fund a task force to develop recommendations to support small businesses and implement policies that can be used across the city.
Eastside Community Plan. The budget includes the continued development of the Eastside Community Plan in order to provide a collective vision and action list for how the Eastside community can address different aspects of economic development, community character and mobility for the future
Russian Community Events and Support. The proposed budget would increase current funding of $40,000 a year to $50,000 a year to support the annual weeklong Russian Arts and Culture Festival. The budget also includes new money for Russian translation services, with a focus on printed materials produced by the Rent Stabilization and Housing Division.
Metro Site Joint Development. The budget includes $225,000 over two years to fund efforts to engage the public in planning for future uses of the Metro bus station site and the county-owned Sheriff’s station site. It would include funding for outreach, planning, urban design support, technical studies and lobbying.
Supporting Vulnerable Communities
Money budgeted for this would be used to expand social services programs to address the needs of West Hollywood’s changing demographics.
Homeless Services. The Social Services Division will be conducting a homeless needs assessment. The budget also proposes spending $25,000 a year to participate in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Summit to Combat Homelessness Rapid Rehousing Program. This program, still in development, is intended to assist homeless families and individuals by quickly finding them permanent housing.
Aging in Place / Aging in Community Strategic Plan Implementation. With the recent publication of the city’s “Aging in Place, Aging in Community” five-year strategic plan, the city is now is planning to spend more than $300,000 over the next two years to help improve the quality of life and maintain the health and well-being of older adults.
Social Services Delivery. The proposed budget includes an annual cost-of-living increase for social service contracts of approximately $90,000 per year, bringing the social service contracts
unding to $4.5 million in fiscal year 2016-17. The city released a request for proposals for the 2016-2019 social services funding cycle in May of 2016 and will vet proposed services over the course of the summer, including bringing recommendations forward to the community and City Council.
The services provided focus on seniors; children and families; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community members; immigrants; people living with disabilities including HIV/AIDS, and people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or in need due to poverty or low income. In addition, the city has added three new service priorities: aging in place, HIV zero transmission, and mental health support.
Social Service Agencies Technical Assistance. The budget includes $25,000 a year to help city-contracted social service agencies develop strategic plans and organizational strategies aimed at improving social services for West Hollywood residents.
Social Services Program Administrator. The budget proposes adding a social services program administrator to the city staff to monitor and evaluate social services contracts, review quarterly reports submitted by contracted agencies, provide crisis intervention to constituents and conceptualize and develop projects to identify and address community needs.
Zero Transmission Efforts. The availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), treatment of active HIV disease and other tools to prevent the transmission of HIV has made zero transmission an achievable goal in West Hollywood. The city has launched an initiative to raise awareness of and provide access to transmission prevention resources including prophylactic medications and to services to address co-factors such as mental health, substance abuse, and HIV stigma. The budget includes ongoing funding to support this initiative.
Community Needs Assessment. The budget proposes $100,000 for a community needs assessment in the second year of the budget cycle. A needs assessment is conducted every few years in order to provide timely data on community trends for citywide programs and initiatives. The last needs assessment was completed in 2013.
Library Operations Expansion. The budget includes funding for operations of the city’s library. Since the city expanded the library and its services several years ago, Los Angeles County has been reducing funding to provide additional services. The budget proposes supplemental funding to expand library operating hours to include Sunday service.
Werle Building Improvements and Recovery Services. The city-owned Werle Building is used as a meeting place for those recovering from addiction. A major renovation project is currently underway that will include improvements to ADA accessibility, upgrades to building HVAC systems, reconfiguration of meeting and office spaces, new furnishings, building code upgrades and the addition of an elevator.
Investing in Infrastructure
This initiative is aimed at upgrading existing buildings and infrastructure by investing in critical improvements and at implementing conservation measures.
Coast Playhouse. The city is in the process of acquiring the Coast Playhouse and planning for major renovations of the facility. The budget proposes a multi-year improvement plan to allow immediate programmed use of the facility, to be followed by a public outreach effort to help determine the design of a plan for future use. This will be followed by an effort to develop specifications and implement a major renovation project that brings the facility up to current codes and standards. This project will implement the city’s long-term vision for an arts venue. The proposed budget includes $2.85 million for these efforts.
West Hollywood Park Phase II. Over this two-year budget cycle, Phase 2 of the West Hollywood Park Master Plan will be implemented. The project includes construction and installation of additional park open space, a new recreation and community center with gymnasium and park support facilities, children’s playground areas, and related improvements.
Roads/Paving. The budget includes $600,000 in proposed annual funding for paving various streets throughout the city. This includes $250,000 of improvements to Santa Monica Boulevard.
Edison Streetlight Acquisition. The budget proposes spending $2.8 million over the next two years to acquire the citywide street light system from Southern California Edison and retrofit it. Over the long term, this effort is expected to recoup its costs through reductions in utility costs and better maintenance
Senior Project Management Supervisor. The city has created a new supervisor position in the Department of Public Works to manage complex construction activities. Someone will be recruited to fill this position in fiscal year 2016-17 to help manage an aggressive program that includes significant investment in West Hollywood Park Phase II, the Werle Building and the Coast Playhouse, among other projects.
Senior Engineer. The budget includes money for the addition of a senior engineer to manage projects and supervise staff in the Engineering Division.
Water Conservation. The proposed budget includes $500,000 in new funding over the next two years to assess and implement water conservation measures for city buildings and landscaped areas.
Design District Streetscape Improvements (Melrose Avenue). The proposed budget includes $2.5 million in additional funding for the to implement the Design District Streetscape Master Plan along Melrose Avenue. A significant portion of this funding is from a Metro grant for the project. The city will also continue to seek funding for the balance of the project, which includes enhancements to the remainder of the streets in the Design District including Robertson and Beverly boulevards.
Where will the money come from? Read the city’s revenue projections here.
Public Budget Discussion Wednesday at Beach Nation
The city will offer residents a chance to learn about and comment on the proposed budget at two events. One, Budget @ the Beach, will take place tomorrow from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Beach Nation, 8289 Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer. Staff members from several West Hollywood City Hall departments will be on-hand to discuss work plans and budget priorities. Beach Nation will be open to the public and will be serving from its regular dinner menu. Food and beverage purchases are not required in order to attend. One-hour parking will be available at the Kings Road Parking Garage, 8383 Santa Monica Blvd. at Kings Road.
The city’s Budget Presentation to the community will take place on June 18 at Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., in Rooms 5 and 6. Members of the city’s Finance Department will provide a detailed overview of the City Manager’s recommended 2016‐2018 operating budget.
The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The meeting will be open to the public; complimentary parking will be available in the surface lots at Plummer Park for up to three hours.
The City of West Hollywood’s Open Data portal includes a page dedicated to the budget. The portal provides easily accessible information about current city revenues and expenditures in a user-friendly format.