Lakewood Plans for a Successful Community
Lakewood's incorporation gave new direction to the formation of cities in Southern California and the nation. Before the development in 1954 of the Lakewood Plan, new cities often went deeply into debt to pay for municipal facilities or waited years for the parks and community centers that residents needed.
By contracting for nearly all city services under the Lakewood Plan, new cities gained control over their development and gave residents a direct voice in how services are provided.
After nearly 50 years of success, Lakewood's pioneering contract plan has earned the city a special place in the history of American municipalities. By contracting with the County of Los Angeles and with private businesses for public services, Lakewood pioneered a model for local government that has been adopted by all but one of the cities incorporated in Los Angeles County since 1954.
Contract services represent about 43% of the city's operating budget. Lakewood contracts with private firms for trash collection, traffic signal maintenance, street lighting, and street sweeping. The city contracts with public agencies for animal care services and insurance.
By contract, Los Angeles County provides law enforcement, road repair, building inspection, and civil engineering services.
Special districts governed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors provide fire protection services, libraries, wastewater treatment, and storm water protection.
Parks, recreation and cultural activities, community development programs, parkways, medians and tree maintenance, a city water utility, and general administrative services are provided directly by the city through the services of approximately 170 full-time employees and 350 part-time employees.
Lakewood is a "general law" city operating under California laws. The five council members who govern the city are elected for overlapping four-year terms.
The mayor is selected by the council from among its members and serves in that special capacity for a one-year term. The city council appoints a city manager and a city attorney.
In addition, the council appoints the members of the Community Safety Commission, the Planning and Environment Commission, and the Recreation and Community Services Commission. The commissioners are Lakewood residents who serve in an advisory capacity to the city council.
The city council also sits as the board of directors of the Lakewood Redevelopment Agency and the Lakewood Housing Authority.
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