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Frozen rats? L.A. city purchases run the gamut

Frozen rats? L.A. city purchases run the gamut
Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin unveiled new data showing what the city spends on thousands of purchases. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin unveiled a new trove of data Wednesday showing what the city spends on thousands of purchases, from helicopters and basketballs to frozen rats.

The procurement information, available at Control Panel L.A., details more than $1 billion spent by city departments between fiscal years 2011-12 and 2013-14. The data adds to the website Galperin launched last year shortly after he took office that includes taxpayer expenditures for police, sanitation, street repairs and other services.

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"I want city managers — and the public too, for that matter — to use this data to help improve City procurement and contracting by encouraging more bidders, driving down the cost of goods and services for the City, and supporting local businesses and jobs," Galperin said in a statement Wednesday.

The largest individual purchase was for an $11-million helicopter bought by the Fire Department in 2011.

Thousands of purchases made by the mayor's office are listed as private. Many of those are related to homeland security, said Kyle Hall, special assistant to Galperin.

The data also show that the city spent more than $55,000 on basketballs and more than $125,000 on frozen rats, which are used to feed snakes at the L.A. Zoo.

Not yet on the website are purchases by the quasi-independent Department of Water and Power, the Port of L.A. and Los Angeles' airport agency, which operates LAX. Galperin's office said it is working to obtain and add that information.

For each purchase, the data set includes information on the item and the vendor, the city department that purchased the item, the cost, the transaction date, the city of the supplier and more.

Follow @skarlamangla on Twitter for more L.A. government news.

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