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Cerritos’ Mayor Barrows Calls for 21% Increase for the Performing Arts Center

Barrows’ statement at a Feb. 2022 city council meeting

The Cerritos Sheriff’s Station will only receive a net 1.2% increase.

April 24, 2023

By Brian Hews

The “jewel of Cerritos,” the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, which has lost over $112 million since 2004, is about to get another baguette if newly appointed-appointed Mayor Bruce Barrows, who was appointed not elected to his current council seat, gets his way at a special city budget meeting he called for tonight at 7 p.m. at the CCPA; the city council chamber is currently under renovation.

In the staff report outlining the proposed budget, residents will be curious why the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station, a frequent target of Barrows for closure, only received a proposed 6.7% increase. In comparison, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts will get a 21% increase.

The short description justifying CCPA’s budget increase read, “The increased spending is expected to result in additional revenue that will be generated through increased ticket sales and facility rentals.”

The CCPA has never come close to profitability, losing over $112 million since 2004-not counting the pandemic years- a staggering average of $7.5 million per year.

According to the city’s audited financials, the highest revenue year in the history of the theater hit $6.089 million in 2018-2019; in Barrows’ proposed budget, a 21% increase in expenses amounts to $1.7 million for a total of $9.6 million meaning sales must increase 57% over ’18-’19 for the theater to break-even.

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CCPA revenues and expenses with losses (in red).

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In contrast to the CCPA increase, the Sheriff’s budget increase is 6.7% or $2 million with $1.6 earmarked to “keep safety services at the same level,” so the actual increase is $400,000 or 1.2% of the total budget.

This is not the first time Barrows has targeted the Sheriffs, at a Feb. 2021 city council meeting, just after being appointed due to the death of Jim Edwards, an appointment LCCN and many residents maintained was a Brown Act Violation, Barrows stated, “”One of the largest increases we have was the Sheriff’s department. We were talking to other cities and discussing other options for us. The problem I have is we’ve had numerous discussions about the Sheriff’s over the years and how we should give the city options if the county has been doing exactly what they are doing now, raising rates.

“The sheriffs are using Cerritos as a cash cow to cover their mistakes and largess they spend. I would hope we look at the Sheriff’s during the budget process.”