Press Releases

L.A. City Revenues Up, Pension Risks Remain

Posted by Taylor Campbell on January 31, 2019 at 11:20 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 31, 2019

Contact: Ian Thompson, 310-490-8595 (cell) | 213-978-7200 (office)

ian.thompson@lacity.org

 

Controller Issues Annual Financial Report & City Performance Data

L.A. City Revenues Up, Pension Risks Remain

 

LOS ANGELES- L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today released the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for fiscal year 2018, which details the City’s bottom line and cautions about challenges on the horizon. The Controller also released an interactive, easy-to-read Popular Annual Financial Report illustrating in graphs and charts how taxpayer dollars are spent by the City. Explore both at lacontroller.org/cafr2018.

 

The City of Los Angeles has experienced relatively strong economic growth over the past six years, including a 4.6 percent uptick in overall revenues last year, a significant increase over the 1.9 percent growth in the year prior. Overall expenses in FY18 increased by less than one percent. However, Galperin noted that these positive economic indicators are tempered by ongoing challenges:

 

  • Pensions: The City of L.A. spent $1.2 billion, or 13 percent of its $9.3 billion budget, on pensions in FY18. This compares to 11 percent spent 10 years ago and nine percent spent 20 years ago. For FY18, the City’s pension systems reported being 84 percent funded. In the months since, the stock market has been more volatile, which could impact investment earnings moving forward.

 

  • Retiree health benefits: The report also notes that the City’s retiree health benefits are a net liability of $2.8 billion. While that represents a funding level of 68 percent of overall projected obligations, it places L.A. in better shape than most other large cities. New York has $98 billion in unfunded liability, and both Chicago and Houston are zero percent funded for retiree healthcare.

 

  • Infrastructure & Debt: The City’s total debt load increased by $1.1 billion in FY18 - mostly due to modernization projects by the Dept. of Water and Power and the Los Angeles World Airports.

 

  • Housing & Homelessness: Voters approved bond monies in November 2016 to build more housing for people experiencing homelessness. But the City has not yet made the most of Measure HHH dollars, spending only $4.5 million out of $86.4 million in available funds for homeless housing in FY18.

 

  • Special funds: The City relies significantly on hundreds of special purpose funds. The overall balance of these funds has grown in recent years, but in contrast to General Fund revenues, these funds are each governed by rules limiting how they may be spent. L.A.’s many special funds need to be better managed by departments and more fully integrated into the City’s public budgeting process, said Galperin.

 

“Our City’s finances are stable at this time, but we need to make sure we are adequately prepared for any possible economic downturn that may come,” Controller Galperin said. “The City must remain disciplined in its budgeting, maintain and grow its reserves, and be more transparent and effective in managing its special funds. It’s crucial that we be prudent.”

 

A complement to the CAFR, the Popular Annual Financial Report charts the City’s General Fund, assets and liabilities and graphs departmental activity, with data about things like the number of small asphalt repairs completed, the tonnage of recyclables collected, per capita water usage, the number of library cards issued and much more.

 

To review the CAFR and the City’s interactive performance data, visit: lacontroller.org/cafr2018.

 

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City Leaders Recommend Strategies to Keep the Port of Los Angeles Competitive

Posted by Taylor Campbell on January 24, 2019 at 11:25 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 24, 2019

Contact: Ian Thompson, 310-490-8595 (cell) | 213-978-7200 (office)

ian.thompson@lacity.org

City Leaders Recommend Strategies to
Keep the Port of Los Angeles Competitive

 

LOS ANGELES- The Port of Los Angeles is a major engine for economic growth and job creation, handling more than 20 percent of all incoming cargo to the United States. Operated by the City of Los Angeles' Harbor Department, the Port of L.A. accounts for one of every 13 jobs in Los Angeles.

While the volume of cargo movement at the Port of L.A. is at its highest point in its 110-year history, L.A.’s share of the cargo business has declined due to competition from other West Coast and Canadian ports and shipping industry consolidations. To keep up, the Port needs to strengthen its efforts to remain competitive and expand and diversify the scope of its business activities, according to a report issued today by L.A. Controller Ron Galperin, along with Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council.

The Industrial, Economic and Administrative Survey (IEA) of the Los Angeles Harbor Department is a 130-page review of both business and management issues at the Port of L.A., and offers recommendations to improve the way the Port functions.  

Development and tourism

The IEA report identifies key business challenges the Port faces, including increased competition from other cargo ports, and the need to diversify the Port’s business portfolio, while retaining a focus on cargo. The Port of L.A. has enjoyed some recent success with real estate development, but needs to pursue additional development opportunities, revamp its leasing practices and find ways to attract more visitors and tourists to the area. Right now, the L.A. waterfront at the Port captures just a fraction of the City’s overall tourism.

Cyber security and technology

The report flags concerns about cyber security facing all of the world’s ports. To address the ever-present challenges, the report highlights the need for the Harbor Department to update some of its more antiquated technology systems. Currently, each division of the Port uses its own software programs and many are not compatible with one another.

“The City’s Harbor Department and its management are doing many things right, but to remain a leader, the Port of L.A. needs to diversify with new development and leasing opportunities, while continuing to update vital technological functions,” said L.A. Controller Ron Galperin. “We can’t grow the Port’s economic footprint without first modernizing the way we do business there.”  

“Every time the Port of Los Angeles sets and surpasses new records for container volume, we all benefit - with more jobs for our workers, more growth for our businesses, and more prosperity for families in L.A., throughout Southern California, and across America,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Today's report underlines what we already know: if we want keep seeing ships dock at our port, unload on our waterfront, and fuel our economy long into the future, we have to invest in efficient operations, cyber security, clean technology, and the world’s best labor force right now.”

The IEA report makes the following recommendations:

  • Deepen collaboration between the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach to maintain a competitive edge with cargo;
  • Explore opportunities to increase business development and modify cargo terminal pricing;
  • Identify future real estate development opportunities, modify leasing prices and provisions, and do a better job marketing major waterfront events;
  • Work with Port tenants to assess and strengthen cyber security; and
  • Develop a standard approach to technology by creating uniform data and systems requirements.

"This report gives the Port of Los Angeles a road map to improve and move forward," said Councilmember Joe Buscaino. "It is imperative the City and Port continue to invest in making the L.A. Waterfront a world-class destination, while bringing port operations to the technological forefront of the goods movement to maintain our standing as America's number one port."

“I thank Controller Galperin for taking the lead on this detailed report and acknowledging the many strengths and accomplishments that have occurred at the Port in recent years,’’ said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We appreciate the feedback on areas where we can focus and improve operations. Based on the priorities outlined, we will be evaluating our business practices, as well as examining opportunities and the recommendations put forth in the study.”

The Port IEA is mandated by the Los Angeles City Charter, which requires the Controller, Mayor and L.A. City Council to administer a survey of each of the City’s proprietary departments - the Harbor Department, Department of Water and Power and Los Angeles World Airports - every five years. The report was prepared for the Controller’s office by the firm of BCA Watson Rice, LLP.

Read the full Port IEA report here.

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

 

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Controller Says L.A. Needs to Prepare City Workers for When Disaster Strikes

Posted by Taylor Campbell on January 16, 2019 at 11:37 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 16, 2019

Contact: Ian Thompson, 310-490-8595 (cell) | 213-978-7200 (office)

ian.thompson@lacity.org

Controller Says L.A. Needs to Prepare City Workers for When Disaster Strikes

 

LOS ANGELES- When earthquakes, fires or floods strike, L.A.’s public safety personnel rush to the scene, heroically doing all they can for Angelenos. But if a major disaster strikes, the City isn’t adequately prepared to activate the rest of its workforce to help out, reported L.A. Controller Ron Galperin in his latest report about the City’s Disaster Service Worker (DSW) program.

The DSW program, which has never been activated, authorizes City leaders to assign civilian employees to support first responders during major emergencies. Galperin observed that the City hasn’t assembled a centralized database of employee contact information, such as cell and home phone numbers and personal emails to reach out to employees in an emergency; the City currently lacks coherent DSW deployment procedures; and the City has failed to properly train and prepare employees if they need to be called up to duty.  

“Los Angeles has weathered more than its fair share of destructive fires, floods and mudslides in recent years, and the threat of the Big One is always on the horizon,” L.A. Controller Ron Galperin said. “We have incredibly dedicated and talented City workers, and we need to be ready to deploy them to aid our first responders when a major disaster strikes. My report offers recommendations to improve the City’s Disaster Service Worker program and ensure that our employees are well-trained and ready to be called into action in case of emergency.”

Under City and state law, if disaster response and recovery efforts need support, DSWs may be assigned to such civilian duties as answering phones, delivering supplies, preparing food, filling sandbags and managing volunteers. According to Galperin’s report, the City needs to be better organized should the need arise to activate the DSW program.

Key players in any activation of the DSW program are the City’s Emergency Management Dept. (EMD) and Personnel Dept. "The Disaster Service Worker Program is an essential element of our City's emergency response capabilities,” EMD General Manager Aram Sahakian said. “The 25th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake is a reminder that Los Angeles continues to face the risk of natural and man-made disasters, and the time will come when employees from all City departments will need to come together to help the City respond and recover."

“I want to thank Controller Galperin for focusing attention on this vital issue,” said Personnel Dept. General Manager Wendy Macy. “Planning and preparation in anticipation of an emergency are what saves lives and property. The Personnel Department takes its responsibility very seriously to support the ongoing work of the Emergency Management Department, both in preparation for an emergency as well as in the time of an emergency.”

Controller Galperin’s report includes several common sense recommendations, including:

  • Create a cloud-based database of employee contact information: The City doesn’t have a centralized database of employee cell phone numbers, emails and addresses required for DSW deployment;
  • Develop procedures to identify which employees to deploy first: The City’s EMD and Personnel Dept. should develop ways to identify which departments and employees within those departments should be prioritized for deployment;
  • Implement regular DSW trainings for City employees; and
  • Test deployment during annual activation drills: City employees participate in annual emergency drills, but DSW deployment aren’t part of them. They should be.

 

Read the full report here.

 

The DSW report is the most recent in a series of reviews and audits issued by Controller Galperin evaluating the state of the City’s emergency preparedness capabilities. Other reports include a Review of NotifyLA; Audit of Information Technology, Disaster Preparedness, Recovery, and Continuity; and Fiscal Audit of the Emergency Management Department.

 

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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L.A. Poised to Dramatically Increase Funds for Street Repairs

Posted by Jade Stevens on October 23, 2018 at 1:15 PM

LOS ANGELES - The L.A. City Council today approved much needed updates to a policy that is projected to deliver more than $100 million a year for street repairs and resurfacing, following leadership from Controller Ron Galperin and Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.

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L.A. Controller’s Financial Report Urges City to Live Within Its Means

Posted by Jade Stevens on October 17, 2018 at 2:20 PM

Los Angeles - City Controller Ron Galperin today released a report summarizing the City’s balance sheet and spending for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018. The Preliminary Financial Report highlights record revenues - which grew by 3.4% over the prior year in the General Fund to $5.8 billion, and 4.1% in budgeted special funds. Overall, revenues were up 3.9%.

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L.A. Controller, Council Launch Clothing Drive to Empower Women

Posted by Jade Stevens on October 15, 2018 at 12:57 PM

LOS ANGELES - L.A. Controller Ron Galperin and the L.A. City Council today launched the Professional Women's Clothing drive. From now until Oct. 26, the City will be collecting thousands of pairs of dresses, shoes, accessories and other lightly worn items to benefit nonprofit organizations Dress for Success and Girls Today Women Tomorrow. A list of 23 locations throughout Los Angeles where Angelenos can donate, and more information is available at bit.ly/laclothing.

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Controller Details Services, Calls for More Strategic Approach to Provide Services for Older Adults

Posted by Jade Stevens on September 27, 2018 at 2:30 PM

LOS ANGELES - Controller Ron Galperin today released the first comprehensive catalog of services and programs throughout Los Angeles for older adults. The compilation, part of this report on a more strategic approach to providing services for older adults in Los Angeles, includes 242 programs for meals, housing, transportation, caregiving, classes and more throughout 14 City Departments. See the complete chart, broken down by category of service, below.

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L.A. Controller Urges Framework for More Accountability and Transparency in Report on $1 Billion in Developer Tax Incentives

Posted by Jade Stevens on August 10, 2018 at 1:58 PM

 

Los Angeles - L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today released a first-of-its-kind report on up to $1 billion in tax incentives offered by the City for large-scale real estate developments. The report includes recommendations for approved and possible future projects to better achieve total accountability, transparency and the best value for the public.

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Controller Calls on City to Modernize Recruitment and Hiring

Posted by Jade Stevens on July 25, 2018 at 9:58 AM

L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today released “A Hire Calling: Modernizing City Recruitment and Hiring,” identifying the challenges - and solutions - in retaining and bringing on the best people to work and serve L.A.’s residents and businesses.

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