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New Infographics Show City of LA's Odd Purchases, Prices

LOS ANGELES ( — Golf carts, frozen rats and a $12 million helicopter are just a few of the items purchased or leased by the city of Los Angeles in the past three years, according to a series of infographics released Wednesday by the city controller.

The newest section of Controller Ron Galperin's ControlPanelLA website includes digital "postcards" highlighting the prices on some of the unusual and mundane purchases made by the city, all part of an effort to spark debate and inspire the public to dig further into the posted data, Galperin said.

The cards provide context for why the city bought the items.

The frozen rats – all 52,100 of them – were purchased for $129,218 to feed snakes at the Los Angeles Zoo, while the $12 million helicopter is used for fighting fires and contains a "drop-tank" that can release 420 gallons of water. The electric golf carts were leased $1,159,775 for use on the city's municipal golf courses, which generate $24.6 million in revenue.

Galperin said he hopes the data will help the city save money on what it buys.

"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," he said.

Galperin's postcards -- which can be found at -- will also be printed up and distributed at various city facilities and events. Galperin also created the hashtag "labuys" as a way to promote the cards through social media.

The controller's office plans to eventually include purchasing information from the Department of Water and Power, the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles World Airports. These agencies are operated semi-independently from the city.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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