In the Summer of 2015, the City of Hawthorne faced a financial crisis due to fraudulent and unethical behavior of the previous City Manager.  “Fake revenue” was used to artificially balance the city’s 2014-2015 budget.  As a result, the city faced a $5.2 million deficit once the truth came to light.  To balance the 2015-2016 budget, drastic measures were taken, including employee furloughs.

“What a difference 4 years can make,” said Councilmember Haidar Awad, Candidate for Mayor who was elected in late 2015 and took office in December of that year.  Councilmember Awad ran and won on his business financial experience.

Once in office, Councilmember Awad immediately initiated a budget oversight committee to “keep an eye on the books” and by May of 2016, it was in place with Councilmember Awad as Chair.

“I vowed to bring transparency to city hall and never let one person have so much control over the city’s finances,” said Councilmember Awad.  “The purpose of the oversight committee I chair is to question everything in detail and vet the budget before it even gets to the full council.  We now have both a shield and a sword.”

The oversight committee has gone so far as to bring in the head of each department and question them about expenditures.

“We were able to trim down unnecessary costs…looking at every department…to bolster our reserves and tighten expenses.  We are the first line of defense,” said Councilmember Awad.

Under Councilmember Awad’s guidance, the oversight committee implemented the disclosure of bank account statements. “We can’t get more transparent than that,” said City Manager Arnie Shadbehr at a recent council meeting.

Hawthorne isn’t completely out of trouble yet, but the city has a realistic, balanced budget and can cover unexpected costs with three months of reserves on hand—meeting State requirements.

The city’s financial future is bright.  Several accounts that wisely use city funds to generate additional funds have grown since 2015: The Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF), a voluntary program for municipalities went from $7.9 million to nearly $13 million; the Multi Bank Securities fund, suggested by City Treasurer L. David Paterson, grew from $973 thousand to $7 million; and the city’s bank account in 2015 held only $3.1 but today there is over $12 million in the bank.  In addition, Hawthorne has a Money Market account at Bank of the West Commercial with $21 million and a Sweep Account with $4.1 million. All contributing to a solvent, well financed city.

REVENUE

GeneralFund_Overall_graph_1

2015-2016

GeneralFund_Overall_1

2020-2021

REVENUE

GeneralFund_Overall_graph_2

2015-2016

 

GeneralFund_Overall_2

2020-2021

Please use CityBudget.haidarhawthorne.com to go directly to Hawthorne’s financial documents.
If you have any questions about the budget, you can contact Councilmember Awad at (310) 418-5955 or Haidar@HaidarHawthorne.com.

Your Tax Dollars At Work in Hawthorne

Towards greater transparency, here is a list of recent and on-going public works projects throughout Hawthorne.

El Segundo Blvd. Mobility Improvement Project: $7.3M

This project improved El Segundo Blvd., between Crenshaw Blvd. and Hawthorne Blvd. These improvements included: reconstruction and rehabilitation of pavement, intersection widening at Prairie Avenue and Hawthorne Blvd., storm drain improvements, installation of bio-filtration structures, catch basin trash screens, sewer pipe point repairs, eight traffic signal replacements, construction of a new traffic signal at Cerise Avenue and El Segundo Blvd., ADA ramps improvements, and adjustment of utilities.
Project Funding: MTA Call for Project, Prop. C, Measure R, Measure M, SB1, Public Works Street funds
Project Status: Completed May 2019

Hawthorne Blvd. Improvement Phase 1I  Project: $5.1M

This project improved Hawthorne Blvd., north of El Segundo Blvd. to north of Imperial Hwy and included: repaving of asphalt, traffic signal upgrades, installation of a new traffic signal at 126th Street, extension of bike lane to Imperial Hwy., ADA ramps improvements, sewer relocation, and adjustment of utilities.
Project Funding: Measure R, SB1, Sewer Enterprise funds
Project Status: Completed March 2019

Prairie Ave Mobility Improvement Project Phase I: $3.8M

The Prairie Ave Mobility Improvement Project Phase I included construction of traffic signal, traffic striping, adjustment of utilities, and rehabilitated sidewalks. In addition, this project enhanced pedestrian safety by upgrading the pedestrian signals with count down features, installed LED lights to enhance visibility of pedestrians and upgraded all ramps and driveways along Prairie Ave to comply with ADA requirements. To enhance the traffic flow, lane capacity was increased by street widening at the intersections of Prairie Avenue at El Segundo Blvd.  The widening added a second left-turn lane for both northbound and southbound direction. The traffic signal systems was upgraded at 10 intersections along Prairie Ave at 118th St, 120th St, Broadway, 132nd St, 135th St, 137th St, 139th St, 147th St, and Marine Ave.
Project Funding: Measure R, CDBG, HSIP
Project Status: Completed December 2019

Sewer Rehabilitation Project Phase III: $400,000,00

The work consisted, in general of sanitary sewer construction and/or rehabilitation in the City of Hawthorne. This included CCTV Inspection services, removal and restoration of existing surface improvements, trench excavation, shoring, backfill, removal and replacement of existing sewer facilities including, but not limited to sewer mains, service connections and other appurtenances. It also included rehabilitation of existing manholes, sewer mains and lateral connections by various “trenchless” rehabilitation techniques, traffic striping and adjustment of utilities.
Project Funding: Sewer Fund
Project Status: Completed March 2019

Rooftop Air Conditioning Unit Replacement (AC-3 and AC-4) at Police Department Building: $350,000

This project replaced two AC units (AC-3 and AC-4) at the Police Department. These two units were original and in very poor condition.
Project Funding: General Fund
Project Status: Completed May 2019