LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council voted Thursday whether to ask voters to authorize $1.2 billion in bonds to be issued over 10 years to tackle the city’s homeless problem.
The council has yet to decide on a possible parcel tax measure that could raise $90 million per year until 2027.READ MORE: Pasadena Man, 25-Year-Old Andrew San Gabino, Arrested In Corona For Alleged Sexual Assault
At least two City Council members — Jose Huizar and Marqueece Harris-Dawson — pushed for the bond proposal, with the two pointing to recent polling indicating the public would be more receptive to it over a parcel tax measure.
The parcel tax would be calculated based on the square footage of improvements, while the bond measure would be paid back through taxes based on a property’s assessed value.
City officials estimate that under a $1.2 billion bond measure, property owners would generally need to pay an added $4.50 to $17.50 per year for every $100,000 of assessed value, with the payments lasting for as many as 28 years.
If approved by voters, the proposed bond amount would be the largest voters have ever authorized the city to issue. The biggest bond amount approved thus far was $600 million to pay for citywide security improvements. Voters have also approved city bond measures to build public facilities for the library, police, fire department, animal shelters and the zoo, and to make seismic upgrades.
City leaders last year vowed to tackle homelessness and to spend about $100 million toward the effort. They estimate it will cost about $1.85 billion over a decade to adequately house and provide services to homeless individuals and families in Los Angeles. A recent count put the city’s homeless population at about 27,000 people.
Councilman Mike Bonin said this week — prior to a preliminary vote on the bond measure — that there is a “hunger for solutions” to end homelessness, and the city should “strike now, while that window of public support is open.”READ MORE: Fatal Pedestrian Collision At PCH And Newland Street In Huntington Beach
He said the city is moving forward despite a countywide proposal to put a “millionaires” tax on the ballot that would have high-income earners helping to pay for homelessness housing and services. That proposal is stalled because Gov. Jerry Brown is “stubbornly not allowing the county to pursue” the measure, Bonin said.
Council President Herb Wesson also pointed to the need for the city to move forward, despite the county proposal.
“We all agree the best approach should be a regional approach, but it does not look like that regional approach is going to occur,” he said.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said that with the bond measure, the individual bonds would only be issued when “projects surface.”
“We’re trying to avoid a situation where we’re borrowing more than what we need,” he said.
The money from either the parcel tax or the bond measure would be spent on housing for people who are homeless or in danger of getting pushed onto the streets. The funds would also be earmarked for facilities that provide mental health services, drug and alcohol treatment and other services.
City leaders are hoping to submit the proposed measure or measures by July 1 so that they could be placed on the November ballot.MORE NEWS: 'Sunday Sessions' Free Concerts Return To Grand Park After Nearly 2 Years
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