Los Angeles

There Are Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Sitting Unused, But There's a Plan

Millions of taxpayer dollars sitting around for years may finally be used.

A cumulative $28 million has been sitting in accounts for two, five, and even ten years in some cases.

The cash is supposed to go to things that many Los Angeles residents would agree need help in Southern California, such as more affordable housing and ways to reduce traffic troubles.

The city administrative officer has been working with city departments to move some of this money, and millions could soon be spent.

The latest move comes after the controller’s findings last year, and a follow-up report in February, which called for city leaders to create a system where cash can be spent.

Traffic Upgrades

From a centralized control center, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation is trying to ease the ever-present slow, traffic-clogged drive.

The technology used monitors traffic in real time and adjusts signals at thousands of intersections

The department says the system can reduce travel time by 12% and help increase traffic safety.

The City Controller’s office says more than $3 million previously unused money will go to make upgrades. 

Teen Drug Treatment

Thousands of dollars are expected to help with a residential teen drug treatment program in South Los Angeles.

Homeland Security

Nearly $2 million would go to Homeland Security.

Affordable Housing

Millions more would go toward creating affordable housing. Specifically, the money would help offset developers’ costs so they could offer cheaper rents.

Some of this money can be moved around without any approval. Other funds will require the city council and Mayor Eric Garcetti signing off.

On top of all this, the controller is suggesting a new process with more oversight from his office, and a time limit for any money that sits unused for too long now and in the future. The city council budget and finance committee is expected to take up that part.

"This is definitely positive movement and we hope that the city council will continue to partner with my office to implement a new management structure for all special funds soon,” said city controller Ron Galperin.

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