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Culver City Council Highlights: Leadership Sponsorship, Tax Penalties, and Community Honors

Monday’s City Council Meeting Addresses Key Issues and Commemorates Former Mayor

By Dolores Quintana

The Culver City City Council convened on Monday, September 18, to address various matters and honor the memory of a former Mayor and Council Member. Here are some key highlights:

Leadership Culver City Sponsored:

In a 3-2 vote, the City Council approved the sponsorship of Leadership Culver City (LCC). LCC is a nine-month program established in 2018 to encourage civic engagement among residents. It provides participants with leadership and communication skills training and focuses on pertinent issues facing Culver City. The program is funded through a $900 tuition fee paid by participants, covering instruction and meals. As part of the City’s sponsorship, the City’s Assistant to the City Manager will participate in the LCC Working Group to offer guidance and input on the program.

Business Tax Penalties Maintained:

The City Council unanimously voted to retain the existing penalty rate structure for nonpayment of the City’s business tax. Businesses with annual gross receipts under $200,000 are exempt from Culver City’s business license tax, as determined by Measure BL in 2022. Approximately 60% of Culver City businesses will be exempt from this tax annually. All businesses must submit a renewal form each year to obtain a business tax certificate. The current penalty rate for nonpayment of business license tax and fees starts at 20% in the first month and escalates to 100% after five months, with no interest accruing on unpaid taxes and fees.

Honoring Jozelle Smith and Additional Proclamations:

The Council commenced the meeting with a commendation, paying tribute to the late Jozelle Jeanette Lawless Smith, a former Mayor and Council Member of Culver City in the 1980s and 1990s. Her dedication to the community was celebrated, and her husband, Ken Smith, accepted the commendation on behalf of the family. The Council also presented four proclamations, including the recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, designating September 19th, 2023, as National Voter Registration Day, marking October 2023 as “Walktober,” and declaring October 4th, 2023, as “Clean Air Day.”

Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell Presentation:

Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell from Los Angeles County’s Second District visited the City Council and commended Culver City’s collaborative efforts. She praised the city’s work in addressing mental health, homelessness, and racial equity, hailing it as a “shining example.” Supervisor Mitchell also acknowledged Culver City’s success in securing funds from LA County’s Measure H Cities Innovation Fund. Representatives from the LA County Department of Mental Health and the Anti-Racism Diversity and Inclusion (ARDI) Initiative joined Supervisor Mitchell in engaging with the City Council.

‘Safe Sleep’ and Project Homekey Update:

Tevis Barnes, Director of Housing and Human Services, provided an update on Culver City’s ‘Safe Sleep’ program and the impending ribbon-cutting ceremony for Project Homekey, a supportive housing initiative. The ‘Safe Sleep’ site, which opened in August, currently accommodates six men and thirteen women. The average age of occupants is 48 years, with an average homelessness duration of three years. Project Homekey’s ribbon-cutting event is scheduled for September 29th and will offer 73 rooms, aiming to provide a sense of tranquility and recovery. Exodus Recovery will manage services and site maintenance.

Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency Presentation:

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency (LAHSA) delivered a presentation, shedding light on the count of unhoused individuals in Culver City. While the data collection method presents challenges for smaller jurisdictions like Culver City, the count conducted in January 2023 estimated 261 unhoused persons within the city limits.

Additional Council Decisions:

Other approved items included the receipt of biannual written reports from Culver City’s Commissions, Boards, and Committees, an amendment to the City’s agreement with We Are Rally for communications services, approval for the purchase of 10 traffic signal battery backup systems, and the granting of an in-kind special event grant to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, designating the 2023 Out of the Darkness Walk as a City-sponsored event.
For comprehensive information on each topic covered during the City Council meeting, including staff reports and attachments, please visit the City’s website. The video recording of the meeting will typically be available on the City’s website within 72 hours of the meeting date.

The City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for October 9th.

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