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Mayor's Opinion of Civic Center Report

September 23, 1990

The Los Angeles Times Westside section on Sept. 13, 1990, reported on the Beverly Hills city manager's report on the cost of the new Beverly Hills Civic Center. The article was accurate as to the cost of the project escalating substantially over the eight-year period of its development and construction. What was missing in the article was the context of the Civic Center Report and the expression of opinions by the council members regarding the project.

In my installation speech as mayor on April 17 of this year, I set as a top priority the preparation by the city manager, Mark Scott, and by our chief financial officer, Don Oblander, of a historical chronology of the Civic Center project, with specific emphasis on the escalating costs. The entire City Council concurred in my requesting the staff report. The purpose of the report was to inform the Beverly Hills community and all others who were interested as to how we ended up with a Civic Center costing many times more than was originally anticipated. The report that was presented Tuesday evening was the culmination of the historical review as requested by the City Council.

I expressed at my installation and I expressed again at the meeting on Tuesday evening that it is my personal opinion that the Civic Center, notwithstanding the beauty of its design and the importance of the facility as a gathering place for the community, especially the library and the Boat Court amphitheater area, is excessive in design, excessive in size and without doubt excessive in cost. Each of the council members has his or her own view of the project, as was expressed at the meeting, but I think it is fair to say that all of us agree that it is excessive in cost.

Notwithstanding the excessive cost of the Beverly Hills Civic Center, the recent careful scrutiny of the Beverly Hills budget and forecasts for the next five years demonstrate that the city can afford the new Civic Center without cutting back any necessary services or capital improvements that are currently proposed. However, if the Civic Center had cost in the $60-million to $70-million range rather than the $120-million range, those excess funds could have been used in so many more beneficial ways for the Beverly Hills community or could have added a major additional cushion to the city's reserves.

ALLAN ALEXANDER

Mayor, Beverly Hills

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