The COVID-related economic collapse had a devastating impact on the city’s budget. Revenues dropped while emergency response expenses went through the roof. During the worst of the pandemic’s impact at the end of 2020, the city was projecting a budget deficit that could rise as high as $700 million — about as much as the entire budget of the fire department.
Fortunately, during Councilmember Krekorian’s previous nine years as Budget Chair, the city had built up unprecedented financial reserves prior to the pandemic. These reserves helped cushion the blow from COVID and made it possible to avoid laying off police officers, firefighters and other vital city personnel. Because of the city’s strong reserves, together with the federal relief the city received under the American Rescue Plan, we achieved a balanced budget in 2021 and avoided the most devastating cuts that otherwise would have been necessary.
The recovery of our budget allowed the city to make important investments to assist those most in need, restore basic services, promote equity, create economic opportunity and build a more livable city. At the same time, we also restored prudent reserves to ensure future solvency in the face of continuing uncertainty.
Among the noteworthy investments and services in the 2021 budget are:
- Nearly $1 billion to combat homelessness and address its impacts
- $75 million for new playgrounds, ballfields, lighting, bathrooms and other improvements in parks across the city
- $20 million to restore early childhood enrichment and daycare centers in parks
- $30 million for solar energy generation, energy storage and energy efficiency in municipal buildings
- $50 million in aid to create jobs in the crucial restaurant sector
- $10 million in child care assistance for working parents
- $10 million for expanded broadband service to close the city’s digital divide
- Restoring the city’s Forestry Teams, enabling them to plant 2,000 new trees per year and perform maintenance for 38,000 trees
- Funding to pave 1,700 lane miles of city streets
- 750 new Targeted Local Hire positions to expand city services while giving job opportunities to Angelenos with barriers to employment