This year, La Verne found itself with more transportation funding than it needed, so city officials turned to a tactic they've successfully used before - selling the funds to another city. At its meeting last week, the La Verne City Council agreed to sell $200,000 of its transportation funds to Industry in exchange for $150,000 in funding that the city can use for a variety of purposes.
Bill Aguirre, community services director for La Verne, said the city received $468,000 in in transportation funds from Los Angeles County this year. Those funds are raised by a 2.5-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1980.
Aguirre said the city uses the funding to help pay for senior bus services, subsidies for Metrolink passes and to rent buses for city-sponsored recreational excursions.
This year, as in most recent years, La Verne paid for those programs and still had some left over, so officials put out feelers to see if any other cities were interested in buying the remainder.
"We've done it for the past five years," Aguirre said.
Funding swaps like this one are fairly common in Los Angeles County. Hermosa Beach has swapped with Torrance. West Covina has traded with West Hollywood and Whittier has exchanged funds with La Habra Heights.
Cities that want to exchange funds must first receive permission from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that manages Proposition A funding.
In previous years, La Verne has had to sell its transportation funding for as low as 65 cents on the dollar. This year, Industry agreed to pay 75 cents per dollar.
"We try to get the highest return on our dollar," Aguirre said. "This has been a good year."
La Verne City Manager Bob Russi said the $150,000 the city is receiving will go into its general fund and can be used to pay for anything from recreation programs to police department needs.
"The idea (is) to kind of help fill in the gaps in revenues," Russi said.
Industry Mayor Dave Perez and City Engineer John Ballas said the funding the city bought will be used to pay in part for solar-generating carport structures at Industry's Metrolink station.
"What we're doing is we're installing steel carports with solar panels on top," Ballas said.
Ballas said the panels are expected to generate about two megawatts of electricity, which the city has agreed to sell to Southern California Edison for the next 20 years.
Ballas said the $200,000 the city purchased from La Verne will be used to supplement the $2.1 million in Proposition A funding Industry already has. The entire project is expected to cost $2.6 million.
Oltsmans Construction, a contracting firm based near Whittier, has already begun work on the project, Perez said.