The Lynwood City Council has voted to freeze its contract with Los Angeles County for public safety services at 2019-2020 pricing, citing the impact of COVID-19. The Council gave City Manager Jose Ometeotl direction Tuesday night to inform the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department that the City will not be willing to pay for an increase that was tied to salary increases approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The Sheriff’s office contracts with the City to provide law enforcement services while the County Fire Department provides fire and emergency services. The Council reiterated its desire that the increase be delayed one year.
Lynwood City officials have already been reducing spending, in fact the city manager and department heads have voluntarily cut their salaries by five percent and believe they can identify another $1 million in administrative costs.
The COVID-19 public health emergency has hit the City hard. Nearly 2,100 residents in this city of 70,000 have been diagnosed with the disease—one of the higher rates per capita in LA County. Sixty-nine residents have died. It also has hit the local economy hard and the City is already seeing a decline in its revenues as employers are forced to reduce their operations.
Ometeotl, who has already notified the Sheriff and the Fire officials of the City’s decision will work with them to define service expectations for the fiscal year, which began July 1.
Lynwood is one of 42 contract cities in LA County that depend on public safety services from LA County. Those cities paid $360 million annually to the County in the last fiscal year.