Utility Ratepayers To Foot $7.5M Bill For LA Children’s Museum
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Some utility ratepayers are less than thrilled to foot a $7.5 million bill that will help fund the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, which has been a work in progress for 12 years.
The Los Angeles City Council approved the transfer of money from the Department of Water and Power and the Bureau of Sanitation on Tuesday.
Critics claim the museum, located in Lake View Terrace next to the Hansen Dam Recreation Center, has been marred with mismanagement, bankruptcy and underfunding since 2000.
Jack Humphreville of the DWP Advocacy Committee said it’s outrageous that DWP and LA Sanitation customers have to now finance the stalled project.
“It’s not the responsibility of the Department of Water and Power and its ratepayers… or the Bureau of Sanitation and its ratepayers… to foot the bill. DWP rates are going to double in the next 10 years. The sewer rates are going up 77 percent. To tag the ratepayers with all this additional burden is just not fair,” he said.
Councilman Richard Alarcon implied he understands the situation is terrible for the ratepayers, but said the city inherited the “mess” after the Children’s Museum went bankrupt.
The councilmember said taxpayers would have been responsible for a lot more money if the council allowed the project to go belly up again.
“We didn’t have a choice. If we didn’t do anything with it that was akin to a children’s museum, we would forgo bonds that have been provided and other funds. We would have to pay them back to the tune of $18 million. The fact that we’ve been able to cobble together a variety of sources is saving the city from having to pay that debt without any benefit whatsoever,” Alarcon said.
Councilman Dennis Zine, who voted against the council’s decision, believes the museum has already used up more than $37 million.
“It reminds me of a bad project that goes bad… and keeps going bad… and you keep trying to save it,” Zine said.