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Hawaiian Gardens Outlines Plan to Protect Essential City Services

STAFF REPORT

HAWAIIAN GARDENS, CA – The City of Hawaiian Gardens has outlined a new set of fiscal priorities due to budget impacts as a result of coronavirus. These new priorities will help identify areas where changes must be made in order to preserve essential City services.

“Since the Gardens Casino has been forced to close due to coronavirus, the City has lost the source of more than 70 percent of its annual revenue. That means the City is not receiving over $1.1 million per month that we normally would,” said City Manager Ernie Hernandez. “We don’t know when the Gardens Casino will be permitted to reopen, but we hope the Governor will intervene. In the meantime, we have outlined new fiscal priorities with the understanding that City operations will have to be adjusted. Above all, we are prioritizing resident well-being and the City’s fiscal health.”

The City has determined the following services as essential, and any future adjustments to City spending and programming will be done with the intent of keeping these essential services operating.

  • Public safety (police/fire services)

  • Public works (Street/Infrastructure maintenance, repairs, environmental controls and cleanliness)

  • Senior support services (senior lunch program, senior ride services)

In keeping with these guidelines, and because the programs require extensive face-to-face interaction between residents and staff, City residential programs (security bar removal program, beautification program, and commercial sign program) have been put on hold through December 31, 2020. Projects already under construction will be allowed to continue. Processing of any new applications has been put on hold and those applications will remain on the waitlist.

In addition, Hawaiian Gardens will be cancelling all non-essential City-funded events through the end of 2020 in order to fully comply with COVID-19 health guidelines and preserve budget for essential services. Event cancellations include the Scholarship Dinner, Mayor’s Youth Walk of Achievement, Independence Day Celebration, Summer Car Show, Robert Canada Friendship Pow Wow, Red Ribbon Week Rally and Walk, Halloween Program, Veterans Day Ceremony, and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The cancellation of these non-essential events is subject to change in the event of new public health directives and/or availability of City resources.

“Everyone in Hawaiian Gardens loves our special events–cancelling them for this year was not an easy decision. I hope our community understands we are making these tough calls with the future of our entire city in mind,” said Mayor Jesse Alvarado. “By identifying our priorities as a City now, we can make informed and consistent decisions that avoid risking essential city services our residents rely on.”

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