The Westwood Village Improvement Association increased the fees businesses need to pay Thursday, for the second time since the organization’s creation.
Businesses operating in Westwood Village pay assessment fees to the association to fund services, such as cleaning the streets and repairing lighting. The association raised assessments by 5 percent for 2016 and another 5 percent for 2018. Additionally, the association collected $1.3 million in assessments in 2011.
Andrew Thomas, executive director of the association, said increasing the fee is necessary to keep up with the increasing minimum wage in Los Angeles city and County. Starting in July 2018 the minimum wage in LA will be $13.25 per hour for employers with at least 26 employees and $12 per hour for employers with fewer than 26 employees.
“We shall see significant increases in the cost of wages through 2020, as minimum wage is increasing,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the increasing costs will go toward wages for workers in the association’s Clean, Safe and Beautiful programs which help maintain the cleanliness and safety of the Village.
He added increased assessment fees will help pay for several other costs including cost of labor, cost of accounting and auditing and cost of insurance for the organization.
Thomas said he thinks the Village is fortunate because assessments have only increased twice in the past seven years. Both times, the association has raised them to meet the minimum wage increases, he said.
He said he thinks the association would not be able to maintain the number of services it currently provides without increasing the business assessment fees.
“When you raise the ceiling, the floor has to go up too,” Thomas said.