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City Billed State $64,000 Annually for Compiling Meeting Agendas Under Brown Act

Sacramento lawmakers have suspended payments for posting meeting agendas under the Brown Act, but the city is absorbing the $64,000 yearly cost.

Now that the state has discontinued payments to local government agencies for compiling and publishing meeting agendas under the Brown Act, some residents are wondering exactly how much the City of West Hollywood was billing the state each year.

According to David Wilson, the city’s interim finance director, the city was billing approximately $64,000 per year to the state.

The exact amount varies year to year depending on how many public meetings the city held, but it averages to approximately $64,000 each year.

“The City bills for City Council meetings based on a formula created by the State that allows for 30 minutes per agenda item,” Wilson told Patch. “For Advisory Boards and Commissions, the City bills at a flat per meeting rate also established by the state.”

Since the 1997-98 fiscal year, the city has billed the state $900,168 in charges connected to compiling meeting agendas according to records Wilson provided Patch.

Of that $900,168, the state has paid the city $248,018, roughly a quarter of the amount due. The state still owes the city $652,150, payment of which has been repeatedly deferred due to the state budget crisis.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, the state owes local governments across California approximately $97 million in Brown Act payments. 

With such a high amount owed, plus interest, Sacramento lawmakers opted in June to stop cities from billing the state for compiling agendas, thereby suspending a portion of the Brown Act. That decision gave cities permission to stop posting agendas for public meeting.

However, the City of West Hollywood has , thereby absorbing the annual $64,000 cost, which is less than the amount the city will spend to

In addition to posting meeting agendas on the city’s website, the city also posts hard copies of meeting agendas in , at the , at the and at the (second floor reference desk).

Allen September 13, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Spending money is what a city is all about, even if it is for wacky stuff.
Paul September 13, 2012 at 06:31 PM
The gay bars are an ATM to the city of West Hollywood.
scott ferguson September 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Once again, no good deed goes unpunished. So we all understand, the council, were it the secretive, behind the scenes place it is often accused of being here, could have saved money by not publicizing the agenda. Instead, they are continuing to do so. It would be nice to hear some word of praise for this and acknowledgement. Had they stopped, we'd have had 5 blogs about it so far. Thanks for posting this James.
JESS Kalinowsky Registered Voter September 14, 2012 at 02:44 PM
OK! Let's paint another intersection!!!! How much did that cost the City taxpayers? $64k .... those must be some "important" meetings!!! Bottom line is that the taxpayer pays in the long run. City and State taxes. In these tough financial times are so many meetings really necessary? City and State Governments love to spend money. NOT always for the smartest things!
Rudolf Martin September 14, 2012 at 03:58 PM
at the risk of sounding naive: why does it cost money at all to post notices for public meetings? wouldn't that be done by salaried city staff? or by interns?
scott ferguson September 14, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Just a guess, but part of it might be annual lawyers' costs to more carefully review something that is posted publicly. And it might not cost that much, but is what the state was willing to pay the city, so if they could get it, they billed it.
Paul September 14, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I voted for Meg Whitman.
Riley September 14, 2012 at 06:45 PM
@ Paul, LOL...I voted for John Anderson!
Riley September 14, 2012 at 06:51 PM
@Rudolf, I'm with you. What could the $64,000 possibly be for? In this day and age it is on line for everyone one who has access and it can be sent to the posting areas via email. Then the employee prints it and walks to the bulletin boards in the Sheriff's office, Plummer Park Office and a short elevator ride downstairs in City Hall. Just for good measure they could email it to the million(s) dollar new library and post it there, too. $64K are you joking?????
Riley September 14, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Scott, are you for real? You're like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. The more blogs the better! Bring 'em on.
Riley September 14, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Yes, Allen, and look at what happened to Stockton and dozens of other cities who didn't watch what they were spending it on. Fiscally Conservative, WeHo ain't.
Rudolf Martin September 14, 2012 at 10:50 PM
'scott' i would call that an attenuated guess at best. but sure, the cities will take what they can get from the state. which is one of the reasons the state is broke.
Stephanie October 10, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Here's what that $$ for the rainbow crosswalks got us...CHECK OUT PHOTOS 2,3 and 4 AT THE TOP OF THIS STORY, TAKEN 2 DAYS AFTER "OPENING" Temporary Paint: $13,000.00 Permanent Paint: $67,000.00 Skid Marks Defacing the Symbol of Equality: No charge The chance to say "We told you so", PRICELESS.
Paul October 11, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Wasteful spending!

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