Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse took to the podium in front of a sold-out audience on Sept. 28 to deliver this year’s State of the City Address at “An Evening with the Mayor” sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. With the elegant Greystone Mansion gardens serving as a backdrop, Bosse shared her vision for the city and progress at the halfway mark of her third term as Mayor.
At her installation in April, Bosse unveiled a new Real Time Watch Center that uses state-of-the-art technology to monitor the city’s sprawling surveillance network 24/7, which includes CCTV cameras and automatic license plate readers. “I am bringing our safety to a whole new level,” Bosse said in her speech. “We do not defund police; we fund our police!” The city is actively recruiting new police officers, and recently augmented salaries to ensure its officers are the highest paid in Southern California.
In addition to the Real Time Watch Center, a new drone program is now in place, “keeping a watchful eye from the sky.” According to Bosse, the surveillance has already proven effective, helping law enforcement with the arrest last week of multiple suspects who were connected to a smash and grab robbery in March at a jewelry store on South Beverly Drive.
Bosse also spoke about Live 911. The new system allows officers to hear emergency calls live in the field as they come in, allowing for an immediate response without having to wait for instructions from dispatch. The BHPD alert text message system communicates information directly from the police department, and the public can sign up for notifications by texting BHPD alert to 888777.
“I know how difficult the last couple of years have been for all of us – and I know we’re grateful that we’re finally on the road to recovery,” she noted.
Bosse also highlighted new eateries like Sweetgreen and Erewhon and spoke about steps taken to continue to incentivize and attract new businesses.
“It’s not just about restaurants, the world’s top visionaries want to invest in Beverly Hills,” Bosse said. “The Mandarin Oriental Residences on Wilshire, Rosewood Residences at the former Friars Club site and ONE Beverly Hills projects are offering world-class living – and the new extraordinary AMAN Hotel at ONE Beverly Hills will join our luxury class of hotels in our world-class city,” she noted.
“We all know the pandemic had a dramatic impact on our local businesses and our city’s finances,” Bosse said. “But we continue to see recovery and improvement in our big four tax revenues – property tax, sales tax, business tax and TOT (also known as hotel tax).”
According to Bosse, property values remained strong and even improved while citywide valuation rose 5.2%, sales tax and business tax have fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. While hotel taxes have not yet fully recovered, they’re at about 85% of pre-pandemic levels. “With inflation, rising interest rates and some economic uncertainties, the city will continue to keep a proactive, watchful eagle eye and take action to protect our financial stability,” she added.
In her concluding remarks, Bosse promised that in the remaining months of her term she will “continue to put the safety and health of our community first, champion our local businesses and listen to you. You have my word and my heart, Beverly Hills.”