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Council Meeting Recap: June 20, 2023

All council members were present for the Tuesday, June 20, City Council meeting. Open session started at 6:03 p.m. and ended at 9:36 p.m. Here's what you missed:

Budget for fiscal year 2023-2024 approved at $1.2 million Surplus. Next Year's Budget Process to utilize OpenGov Software. The council approved the budget for 2023-2024 ending with a $1.2 million surplus. While this will be the third year in a row that the Council approved a structurally balanced budget, this year was done so properly without the use of one time funds. "For the first time in the City's history, our revenues are exceeding our expenditures" said Deputy City Manager Tarik Rahmani.

During the third budget workshop City staff projected around $500,000 general fund surplus for the year. However, finance staff decreased expenditures from the last workshop by implementing up to a 2.5% vacancy rate across certain departments with the assumption that staffing levels are not 100% capacity at the start of fiscal year July 1st 2023. The main highlights for the budget of fiscal year 2023-2024 as well as last second additions can be seen below:

Structurally Balanced Budget

Fiscal Year 2023-2024





General Fund Reserve

$107.9 million

Los Angeles Sheriff Contract


Special Events Fund Expenditures


Capital Improvement Program 5-Year Plan

$387 million

Capital Improvement Program FY 2022-2023

$56 milion

Internship & Fellowship Program with CSUDH

$100,000 proposed budget

Carson Enhanced Infastructure Financing District (EIFD)

$134 million in projected revenue over 50 years according to City Staff

Sister City Affiliation: Awka, Nigeria

$20,000 proposed budget

For next year's budgeting process, the City will utilize OpenGov, a cloud company with a focus on local governments which should help residents understand budget information and seeks to bring visibility, openness and accountability to financial operations. "Through the tranparency portal, you or the residents can go online to look at our budget in real time" said Senior Budget Analyst Ralston Turner. The City initially considered the move to OpenGov software in 2018, but due to IT staff shortages, and then later the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition was pushed to the backburner.

Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes and Councilmember Arleen Rojas selected to serve on City’s new Finance and Audit Committee. A new two-member committee was approved Tuesday in response to the State Controller's recent audit which found deficiencies with the City’s internal controls. On top of addressing the concerns found in the State Controller's report, the goal of the Carson Finance Audit Committee is to provide independent oversight of the City’s internal control system, evaluate the internal audit function and external auditors, review financial filings, and set the groundwork for a 'whistleblower' process. Commitee members would work directly with an independent auditor and would be responsible for preparing, reviewing, and filing financial statements. Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes nominated herself and Councilmember Arleen Rojas to field the committee, while Deputy City Manager Tarik Rahmani will help lead the committee as staff liaison.

The audit revealed key findings, including "lack of controls over city's contracts," "outdated policies and procedures" and the "lack of an established audit committee." In it's most recent letter dated Feb 8, 20203, the State Controller suggested that the City should develop a comprehensive plan addressing the three key findings. The staff report for this council meeting suggests that by approving the resolution, the council is accepting the State Controller's recommendation to formally establish an audit committee but does not touch on the other findings in the Controller's analysis. While the State Controller's Office Audit was not attached to this meeting's staff report for the public's review, the audit can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here.

Noting the lack of controls over city contracts, the Controller found scores of contracts which had their cost-values significantly increased after the initial procurement process. The report suggested that the City "may have avoided using an open, competitive procurement process" when it later made the increases through amendments. One such contract was increased by 900% (to $249,999 from the original $24,999) through an amendment. Furthermore, the audit specifically mentions the contract with Aleshire & Wynder, LLP for the City's legal services "did not limit total compensation or specify a term ending date." The State Controller added that the City failed to provide documentation that it had sought other bids from legal firms in the last 14 years.

The City received the State Controller's initial review, along with its concerns and recommendations, in November of last year but was not presented to the public until the March 7 Council meeting. However, just hours before that council meeting, the previously-scheduled agenda item, designated for discussion, was moved to the consent calendar, where agenda items are generally agreed and passed with no live presentation to the public. Fortunately, the schedule change was noticed and the item was pulled for the public's purview.

City hires architectural firm to help applicants walk through the Commercial Façade Improvement Program. The City’s Commercial Façade Improvement Program will now include consultation from a certified architect firm to help applicants navigate through the program’s process as the council unanimously approved a contract with Mour Group Engineering + Design, Inc at $200,000 for five years. Under the contract, the firm will help business owners with complimentary design recommendations for façade improvements, include architectural and construction drawings, assist with the permitting process, and overview the construction process.

The Commercial Façade Improvement Program provides Carson business and property owners with matching grants to improve their storefronts and attract new visitors to the City’s major commercial corridors. Under the Program, tenants and/or property owners may qualify for a reimbursement grant of $2,500 to $25,000 for storefront aesthetic improvements. A dollar-for-dollar matching is required for amounts over $2,500. For owners of multi-tenant centers, the maximum grant is $250,000 based on a total expenditure of no less than $497,500 on eligible exterior improvements. The goal is to facilitate commercial revitalization, stimulate private investment, preserve and beautify the commercial corridors, upgrade the physical image of the city, and to generate shopping, tourism, and a pleasant walking environment by improving the visual aesthetics of the targeted areas with enhancements in design, color schemes and building façades through the use of the City. More information on the Commercial Façade Improvement Program can be found here.

Council agree to support more bills circulating in the California Legislative Calendar. At the request of Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes, the council added their names to support letters to advocate for AB 1657 and SB 331 in the hopes that their backing will help the bills make their way to the Governor’s desk for approval. Assembly bill 1657, also known as the Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2024, would place a $10 billion housing bond on the March 5, 2024 primary ballot to fund production of affordable housing and supportive housing, including the Multifamily Housing Program, the CalHome Program, and the Joe Serna, Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant Program. Senate Bill 331 or ‘Piqui’s Law’ takes aim at child abuse in California. According to the bill’s author, statistics show that over 900 children have been murdered nation-wide since 2008. SB 331 strengthens protections for children by prioritizing child safety in family court, requiring critical training and reporting for judicial officers and would ban the practice of court ordered reunification programs.

City of Carson establishes Sister City Affiliation with the City of Awka, Nigeria. The council unanimously passed a resolution establishing the Nigerian City of Awka as the City of Carson’s ‘Sister City’, responding to the request made by the Awka’s Mayor, Ossy Onuko. By designating Awka, Nigeria as a Sister City, the council aims to promote a growing awareness and appreciation of both city’s culture and people; and have an avenue of communication to exchange information, technology, urban planning and development, socio-cultural activities, tourism, trade and other important aspects of local governance that are beneficial for both cities.

According to the staff report, the City of Awka shares many qualities with its new sister city. “Similar to the City of Carson, Awka is an emerging city rich in heritage and history, and also like the City of Carson, Awka enjoys a strategic location important for trade and business vis-à-vis its neighboring mega metropolis, respectfully City of Los Angeles and City of Onitsha.”

The council approved a initial placeholder budget of $20,000 to be utilized for the new Sister City relationship but Deputy City Manager, Tarik Rahmani, suggested that this amount would most likely decrease in the future when City staff works out the actual expenses for this affiliation.

Carson Sheriff Station warns public to not use illegal fireworks this 4th of July. With Independence Day Celebrations around the corner, the Carson Sheriff Station would like to remind the public that only safe and sane fireworks are allowed in the City of Carson and use of illegal fireworks will come with a hefty fee. “Just to remind all our residents out there, or anyone visiting the city of Carson, the city of Carson only allows safe and sane fireworks. Illegal fireworks are not allowed in our city,” said Captain Damon Jones as he presented an info-video at the council meeting to explain the City’s firework ordinance, “if you are caught using illegal fireworks, you will be fine. We are going to do everything in our power to make sure we follow through on collecting those fines and hold you accountable.”

For anyone suggesting that lighting only one non-safe-and-sane firework could do no harm, just know that the first violation starts at $2,000. The second offense leads to a $3,000 fine, and every penalty thereafter incurs a $5,000 ticket.

As per the Captain’s presentation, safe and sane fireworks may only be used at designated time frames. The City will allow the discharge of fireworks on June 28 between 12 p.m. – 10 p.m., June 29 – July 3 from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., and finally on Independence Day, July 4 starting at 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.

The captain invited the public to report any illegal firework sightings to his office but urges callers to be quick and precise when leaving a tip. “If you do, contact the station to report illegal fireworks, just please know that we receive a lot of calls of this type during this time. To help us be as successful as possible in identifying those who are using illegal fireworks, please try to give us the exact location or a description of those folks who may be using the illegal fireworks” noted Captain Jones. To make an anonymous tip call the Carson Sheriff’s Station at (310) 830-1123.



  • Samoan Heritage Day Celebration: Saturday, June 24, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., at Foisia Park

  • 55th Anniversary Street Fair: Saturday, July 29, 12 - 8 p.m., on Carson Street between Bonita and Civic Center Drive

  • Community Night Out - A March Against Crime and Violence: Wednesday, August 2, 5- 8 p.m., at the Carson Sheriff's Station

  • Please donate any un-needed school supplies to the Carson Sheriff's Station. To be handed out during the Community Night Out on Aug 2.

  • Tour de Carson - Saturday, Aug 12, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., at CSUDH


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