City Studies Plan for 'Mini City Halls'

As part of an ongoing attempt to decentralize government services, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday agreed to spend $50,000 to study the feasibility of creating two "mini city halls," one of which would be located in Reseda.

The West Valley Constituent Service Center would be located in the municipal building on Vanowen Street adjacent to the West Valley Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

It is one of seven such centers planned citywide, according to City Asset Manager Dan Rosenfeld.

The centers are designed to increase government efficiency and provide residents with convenient locations to obtain a variety of services.

"Several city departments are already located in the building, but the way they're set up is not customer-friendly," said Councilwoman Laura Chick, whose field office uses space in the building. "I have long felt that the building has great, unused potential."

Under the council's plan, the building would be redesigned to feature bank teller-style windows where residents could obtain permits, apply for jobs and conduct other city business.

"The idea is that there ought to be a place where you can do all of your routine city business in your neighborhood. Each one would be like a mini city hall," Rosenfeld said.

Currently, the only operating Constituent Service Center is located near downtown, but several others have been approved, including one that is being built as part of the Van Nuys Civic Center project.

On Wednesday, the council unanimously agreed to instruct the city's Department of General Services to prepare studies for the Reseda center and another in West Los Angeles.

More than 90% of the city's 10,000 office workers are based downtown. Many work in office space leased by the city, while many of the city's own buildings remain underutilized, Rosenfeld said.

The service centers would be paid for with savings realized by reducing the amount of leased space used by city employees, he said.

"We've come up with a plan that would almost triple the amount of those workers in the neighborhoods," Rosenfeld said.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World