Controller Identifies $28 million in Unspent Public Funds

Posted on March 29, 2018 at 12

Controller Identifies $28 million in Unspent Public Funds
Council vows to utilize money for City’s priorities

Los Angeles -- L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today released a report detailing $28 million in unspent public funds allocated for specific purposes but that have remained idle despite the City’s ongoing fiscal challenges. The report and data can be seen at lacontroller.org/idlefunds

Up to 90 percent of the City’s treasury is made up of 830 special purpose funds created with very specific restrictions based on policy decisions or grant requirements. The result has been a fragmentation of City funds making it too easy in some instances for the money to be ignored or unspent. In a review of ways the City can update and reform its management and use of these funds, the Controller identified 123 funds totalling $28.2 million that have sat idle for a minimum of four years with some funds untouched for more than 10 years.

“When the City generates and collects taxes, fees, grants and other monies, it is vital that Angelenos know the funds are being put to good and timely uses,” L.A. Controller Ron Galperin said. “It is shocking that as we deal with crises on multiple fronts - from homelessness to housing - vital public funds we can and should be spending remain idle. Taxpayers deserve better and will greatly benefit from a transformation of the City’s management and use of special funds. That is why I am putting out all of our findings online to showcase as much open data as possible. Open data is a tool for democracy and a vital starting point for trust in government.”

“At a time when the city is trying to work more cost-effectively than ever, and we are trying to restore services that were cut in the Great Recession, we cannot afford to leave any funds sitting idle,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chairman of the Council’s Budget & Finance Committee. “Identifying and capturing restricted funding sources that have been untapped for years will create new opportunities to restore essential services for Angelenos. With the benefit of the Controller’s report, the Council will take the necessary policy steps to assure that these funds can be utilized toward our city’s priorities and improving the quality of life for all residents. It has been a pleasure partnering with Controller Galperin for the last five years to get this done, and I appreciate the meticulous work he and his staff have put into this report."

The funds identified by the Controller can be used for street improvements, economic development and public safety services. We have identified idle funds in the following categories:

  • $7.6 million for street improvements
  • $7.6 million for parks
  • $5.1 million for affordable housing
  • $3.8 million for economic development
  • $2.4 million for public safety
  • $806,000 for public works
  • $406,000 for social services
  • $227,000 for arts programming

Concurrently, the Controller is developing a plan to present recommendations for managing and consolidating all the City’s special funds by developing proposed policies and procedures, reviewing the legal limitations that restrict their use, and determining how best the City can leverage these funds to enhance delivery of City services. That report is slated to be released in fall 2018.

The report and data can be seen at www.lacontroller.org/idlefunds

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