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City Council Puts $3 Billion Road Repair Bond Issue on Back Burner

Public meetings will be held before the plan goes onto a future ballot.

Responding to an uproar by Neighborhood Councils and community activists, the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday dropped plans to put a $3 billion road repair bond measure on the May 21 ballot.

Councilmen Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino, who sponsored the measure, proposed holding it for a future ballot in order to "give the proposal more time for consideration by all Los Angeles stakeholders and to engage in a massive public outreach effort."

The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, the Los Angeles Alliance of Neighborhood Councils and the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates had all adopted resolutions asking for a 60-day delay on the road repair bond proposal for "meaningful outreach" to city residents.

The council members asked the city attorney to draft language for a future ballot measure and referred the bond issue to the Public Works Committee, which Buscaino chairs. The committee will hold public meetings throughout the city.

“Providing for safe, well-maintained streets is one of the most basic core functions of city government, and is crucial to our economy and our daily lives,” Englander said. "We want all stakeholders—community members, Neighborhood Councils, chambers of commerce, community-based organizations and businesses—to have the opportunity to weigh-in, and that has always been one of the central goals of the street repair proposal.”

Under the proposed general obligation bond, the owner of a $350,000 home would pay about $119 per year in added property taxes over the course of the 29 years it would take the city to pay off the debt. The tax on a property's assessed value would start low and increase as the city borrows more heavily to fund the street repairs, with the rate eventually declining as the city stops borrowing more money.

The bond issue, called the largest infrastructure proposal in the country, would repair 8,700 miles of failing city streets over a 10-year period. 

Bureau of Street Services Director Nazario Sauceda told the council at a hearing last week that his bureau has effectively stopped repairing the city's worst streets, instead using its resources to maintain streets that are in good condition and worth saving. Replacing the current backlog of failed streets would take the city about 60 years under the current level of funding.

"It makes us look like we are a city in decline," Sauceda said.     

The councilmen said the bond measure is necessary, in part, because sources of state and federal funding for road repairs are nearly tapped out and are not expected to be replenished. Replacing and then maintaining failed streets would improve property values and make the city more attractive to businesses and investors, they said.

An informational website has been posted at https://sites.google.com/site/lastreetbond/home.

Read more about the City Council action here.

-- City News Service contributed to this report.

dorothy allison January 15, 2013 at 09:35 PM
I think that there is a real need to repair some of the city streets, but I do not think that property owners should have to pay for all of the street repairs. Everyone that lives in L.A. city and drives some kind of vehicle should have to share the cost .
D. Jude January 15, 2013 at 10:24 PM
This Failure of a City Council has Squandered our Tax Dollars over the last Decade. If they need money to repair the streets, borrow it from their close ""Bed Partner""..the LA DWP. They've been ripping us off fore the last 20years also....to pay for their Lucrative Pension Plan....All a Bunch of ""FAT CATS""~~!!!!
Elliot S! Maggin January 16, 2013 at 12:34 AM
We've just knuckled under again to a thoughtless knee-jerk reaction to any attempt to pay for what we need. This is a project that would provide not only a long-term tool, but an immediate benefit in the form of short-term jobs and long-term arteries for our businesses and our goods. Stop and consider what's going on here and how blindly culpable we all are for (1) refusing to pay for what we have and simultaneously (2) complaining about not having it.
Sean January 16, 2013 at 03:25 AM
all along our coast for the past several years, we have had a lot of redevelopment, huge trucks, carrying thousands of pounds in materials are constantly making deliveries... for years. large trucks and their weight are tearing up our roads tax the commercial trucks making the deliveries.... or, what about the developers? one truck can equal thousands of cars
Jo January 16, 2013 at 04:07 AM
The problem not a lack of taxation. We pay almost the highest taxes in the nation and yet our services have been drastically slashed. The BLOATED PENSIONS are the problem. City Council mismanages the money they already take from us by giving it away to the unions so they can get the police and fire unions' money to fund their campaigns. That's what's going on here. City council "reformed" pensions...oh yeah...all they did was reduce the pensions for new hires, so just the young people. AND, they excluded LAPD and LAFD who get extremely lavish, bloated pensions of 90% of their salary for life after they retire at 50 years old. And they and spouse get retiree medical, dental and vision for life!!! Do you in the private sector get that??? I don't think so. In the private sector, you'd have to work much longer than just til 50 yrs old, way more than a mere 25 or 30 years and then you'd be lucky to get ANY pension...if you get a pension it would be about 1/3 that of what City employees get. Oh no, this City Council won't tough the existing workers' pensions because they need their union dues for their next campaign. Until they reform existing employees' pensions and include police and fire, don't dare come to us for even higher taxes! If you vote for Gruehl, Perry or Garcetti, you deserve more decay and bankruptcy! They were on city council and they are the reason pensions are the #1 priority of LA City; they are why our city looks disgraceful. Vote for Kevin James.
Dawn January 16, 2013 at 05:05 AM
The taxes we already pay should be enough and were supposed to go to street repairs anyway. This City makes me sick. They keep taxing and spending to cover their benefits and pensions. Does anyone know the total collected in LA County from property taxes each year? Someone told me it was close to a trillion dollars.
Elliot S! Maggin January 16, 2013 at 06:38 AM
Someone told me a unicorn stole his magic Ring-Ding but I didn't repeat everything I heard and grow a tail over it. Sometimes I wonder whether reason really is overrated.
Jo January 16, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Read about pension reform:: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/city-379770-reform-angeles.html To deal with its fiscal mess, LA City Council voted to put a half-cent sales tax increase on the ballot. VOTE NO !!! When we buy big ticket items such as a TVs, we will buy in Simi or the OC where the tax is much lower. Those sales will leave LA. "The tax increase would delay the pension crisis by six months, but would not solve the problem," Mr. Riordan said. Pensions in Los Angeles are typical "defined benefit" plans, in which employees supposedly are guaranteed a level of benefit, with taxpayers backing up any pension fund investment shortfalls. Mr. Riordan's reform would have moved new employees to "defined contribution" plans, in which the city would contribute to employees' 401(k)-style investment accounts. The few employers that still provide pensions have 401k style pensions. If it is good enough for the private sector that actually pays for the City workers jobs to exist in the first place, then why isn't it good enough for our public "servants?" VOTE NO TO LA's SALES TAX INCREASE. City Council is causing businesses and people to flee for lower taxed cities and states and we need to starve the beast! Why should City employees get job security, lavish pay and benefits that those of us paying the bills don't get? LA needs to reform EXISTING workers' pensions, not just the new young ones. Fire and police pensions should be reduced. We are taxed enough already!
Will Rogers IV January 16, 2013 at 06:55 PM
There needs to be some nexus Elliot, & owning real property does not make ME responsible for the roads, AND our CIty will waste the $$ & spend it on other stuff, no doubt, like for microwaves & big screen TVs @day workers centers @ home dept...
Bob Peppermuller January 16, 2013 at 08:17 PM
They already do. A hidden way of taxing LA. The DWP is city owned and by charter, all profits are returned to the general fund. No formula - strictly profit. That amounted to $73 million last year (2011). That's a combination of both funds - water and power.
Jo January 17, 2013 at 12:46 AM
VOTE FOR KEVIN JAMES, not the 3 insiders (Gruehl, Perry and Garcetti). I died laughing today when I got a campaign flyer in the mail from Jan Perry that had a sinking ship on the front page...ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Like she, a current LA City Council Member, is not responsible for the sinking ship; she and Gruehl and Garcetti are causing this sinking ship. They give away lavish pensions in exchange for union money to fund their campaigns. We need meaningful pension reform, not the joke of a reform this City Council did in the fall that only affect NEW young people and doesn't touch the police and fire departments. All they did was kick the can down the street; those new hires won't retire for 30 years and meanwhile the baby boomers are retiring to their lavish lifestyles in droves. And, all my friends that are retiring from LA City are making plans to move to Nevada so shelter their lavish pensions from the highest in the nation state income taxes. Vote for Kevin James. Vote all the incumbents out of office.
NRA Guy January 17, 2013 at 07:35 AM
When are you stupid people of Los Angeles are going to wake up. All these new taxes are going to raises for all government and city workers. Pretty soon your going to need a four wheel drive to get around these roads. Until you fools runs these bums out of office happy trails to all you chumps.
Rev M G Martinez, ULC January 17, 2013 at 02:42 PM
NRA GUY, where we're all these fiscally responcible people last Nov., voting for Obama??? The President is the biggest tax and spend offender IN HISTORY! Yet, he won L.A. by over 90%! If all these people would apply their self-righteous indignation, and reasoning to the national issues, Mitt Romney would be our next president! Go figure that one out, why don't you!
nonoise January 17, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Jo, even funnier then that was when in the debate in Eagle Rock Jan Perry said you should vote for her because her relatives lived under "Jim Crow" laws. Come on, she is using the race card for votes? That is crazy.
Greg Nelson January 17, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Bob: Profits within DWP's water and power funds are not automatically transferred to the city's General Fund. The City Council needs to request the money through an ordinance, and it requires the approval of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. There have been times when the board refused, or threatened to refuse.

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