Controller Unveils Interactive COVID-19 Spending Tracker for the City of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — L.A. Controller Ron Galperin today released an interactive, online COVID-19 Spending Tracker showing money spent by the City of Los Angeles in response to the pandemic. From March 2020 through the end of November, City departments reported spending a total of $326 million — mostly on equipment, testing, staffing, rental assistance and overtime.

“The City of Los Angeles was compelled to step outside its comfort zone and perform COVID-19 response work once the pandemic spread to Southern California in mid-March,” said Controller Galperin. “That meant incurring hundreds of millions of dollars in unforeseen expenses to provide critical services and support residents in need. Accurately tracking COVID-19 spending not only ensures that the City has a holistic picture of pandemic-related costs, but also helps the public understand what their local government is prioritizing during the crisis.”

The tracker provides a visual tally of City spending during the crisis overall, and also allows users to explore costs by department and filter expenditures by month. For example, in November, the City spent $57 million responding to COVID-19 as compared to $46 million in October. As reported in the tracker, the department with the most COVID-19 expenditures is General Services with $100 million overall. That department is tasked with purchasing goods and equipment for the City and its programs.

Snapshot of L.A.’s COVID-19 spending 

  • Overall COVID-19 spending: $326 million
  • Goods and supplies: $228 million
  • Testing: $203 million
  • City staffing: $98 million
  • Renters relief: $45 million
  • Overtime: $20 million
  • Highest monthly spending: $57 million in November 2020

Where is the money coming from?

Most is from CARES Act and other federal grants and funds — $745 million of which was allocated to the City; some is from the State of California; and some is from the City’s General Fund, most of which is eligible for reimbursement.

About the spending tracker

Beginning last spring, the Controller’s Office, which is charged with recording and reporting City spending, worked with the City Administrative Officer to instruct departments to identify COVID-19 related spending with the aim of ensuring internal accounting accuracy and public transparency. Galperin’s spending tracker, which will be updated regularly, reflects the outcome of this work by showing COVID-19 expenditures reported to the Controller’s Office by departments. All tracker data is current through Nov. 30, 2020, except where expressly noted.

Explore Galperin’s COVID-19 Spending Tracker at lacontroller.org/covidspending or https://lacontroller.org/data-stories-and-maps/covidspending/.

Follow L.A. Controller Ron Galperin at @LAController on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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