City Council Approves Mid-Year Budget, Shows Strong Interest in Linkage Fee
March 18, 2021
The City Council has approved the mid-year budget which includes nearly $4 million in additional revenues and fully funds the rent stabilization program.
At its Monday night meeting, the Council also decided to move forward on a linkage fee proposal, which would require new commercial developers to pay toward affordable housing.
During the budget hearing, the councilmembers heard from the city’s Chief Financial Officer Onyx Jones who reported that revenues for fiscal year 2020-21 will total $107.4M, representing an increase of $3.93 million from than the current budget total of $103,468,103.
Jones also noted that property taxes revenues increased by $582,000, a 12% percent increase from last year of $2.4 million, and sales tax revenues rose to $6.5 million. On the other hand, the Transient Occupancy Tax and commercial development tax were down, posting $1.7 million and $911,000 respectively.
In her report, Jones also said, “there is enough general fund budget savings in salaries to absorb the $1.1 million in mid-year appropriation requests and to end the fiscal year within the total revised budget of $126.85 million.”
“Despite the significant reductions to the city’s revenues due to COVID-19, staff has done an amazing job at maintaining the general fund reserves,” she added.
Jones acknowledged that Culver City is slated to receive $7.3 million from the stimulus bill but only half of the that total will be forwarded to the city coffers this year. The balance will be sent next year.
During the meeting, the Council also discussed a commercial linkage fee, also known as a jobs-housing linkage fee, charged to developers of new non-residential properties to help support affordable housing for new workers.
City staff said linkage fees in Los Angeles County vary from $3 to $13 per square foot, with variable rates for hotels, industrial, retail and office space. Santa Monica’s fee ranges from $7.65 to $12.60, while West Hollywood has a flat $8.92 rate.
City staff’s initial recommendations include a fee of $5 per square foot, with exemptions for projects that have already completed the city’s preliminary review, and developments of less than 10,000 square feet. The fee would be reviewed every five years.
Showing strong interest in the proposal, the council directed staff to draft a linkage fee ordinance and bring it back to the panel next month.