By Veronica Mackey
Tuesday’s council meeting began with two public hearings. The first hearing outlined new penalties and administrative fines for fireworks violations in the City of Inglewood. The Inglewood Municipal Code has been amended to provide stricter guidelines (including the criminal penalty and fines) for dealing with unlawful use or possession of illegal fireworks.
Basically, the City only allows the use of Safe and Sane Fireworks, which are the only fireworks sold legally in the city. Illegal fireworks include those that fly in the air, move or explode. Violators can expect a fine of up to $500 for using illegal fireworks; for allowing children under the age of 18 to handle any fireworks unsupervised by adults; and for use of fireworks on public property without city approval. Fireworks enforcement is in effect from 5pm until 8am. New guidelines have been published in English and Spanish, and will be distributed to schools, block captains, and the Inglewood libraries.
Resident Ray Davis noted the huge problem with litter after using fireworks. “People leave trash in the middle of the street. It’s something that needs to be addressed,” he said.
The second hearing dealt with the regulation and control of backflow and cross connection in the City’s water system. Public Works Director Louis Atwell introduced an ordinance to get more businesses in compliance with backflow prevention. According to Atwell, only 10 percent are in compliance. Restaurants and medical facilities are the main businesses that will be affected by the ordinance.
Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer David Esparza began the presentation on the City’s Mid Year Finance Report for Fiscal Year 2016-17. Details in the report were given by a staff member.
Here is how the City of Inglewood is looking fiscally in its first 6 months from October 2016 through March 2017:
•Building permit fees are down 24 percent
• Utility user tax are down 6 percent
•Sales tax are up by $1.2 million or 19 percent
•Property tax are up by 7 percent
•Other local taxes (including license fees and franchise tax) are up $2.3 million. The reopening of Hollywood Park Casino in 2016 is partly responsible for the increase.
•General Fund expenditures so far this fiscal year are $122 million. About 47 percent of the budget has been spent.
“The City is on track for revenue at this point,” the staffer said.
Councilman Eloy Morales noted that Inglewood was able to restore prior levels of park and library services which had been cut. “A couple years ago, we didn’t have any budget. We talked about bringing library and parks back to where it was before, in terms of hours. In public works, we added services.
“The important thing is that we have increased service levels, but still we are below the (budget) mid-point for this year,” Mayor James Butts said.
City Treasurer Wanda Brown shared a story about the ever-rising value of homes in Inglewood. A developer bought a home for $350,000. The plan is to remodel it into a 5-bedroom residence. “It was quite dilapidated,” Brown said. “But when done, it will probably sell for something like $800,000.”
Councilman George Dotson shared his excitement at attending the recent Junior ROTC graduation, and the unveiling of the new state-of-the-art baseball and softball field at Darby Park. “They put on (baseball) clinics for the kids. I hope your kids were able to come out and participate,” Dotson said. He also announced the upcoming Family Day in the Park, on July 15, at Edward Vincent Park—a community family picnic which will include a health fair as well.
Councilman Alex Padilla announced that new plants were added to North Park last weekend, thanks to volunteers from a local sorority. The District 2 Councilman also reminded everyone about the annual Memorial Day ceremony honoring veterans this Monday, May 29 at 11am on the North Lawn of City Hall.
Council members approved payment to Kane Ballmer & Berkman for legal advice, guidance and representation, and with Buchalter, also for legal services. The council agreed to a two-year blanket purchase order (with the option to extend for one additional year) with P&R Paper Supply Company for the purchase of various janitorial supplies for all City facilities; payment for tree maintenance, printing, and additional appraisal services.
An agreement will be amended between the City of Inglewood, Inglewood Housing Authority, and PATH Inglewood Pacific Associates for an affordable senior housing development project, located at 502 through 508 S. Eucalyptus Avenue, Inglewood, California 90301. The amendment will provide for certain financial assistance for up to $5,500,000.
Mr. Jim Vaughan and Charles Braggs were honored for their outstanding service with the Inglewood Junior ROTC.