The Los Angeles City Council today approved a $7.2 billion budget that delays layoffs but makes close to $70 million in cuts to services and shrinks the city's workforce by more than 400 positions.
The budget, first proposed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and amended by
the council's Budget and Finance Committee, closes a $238 million deficit, but
leaves next year's budget $199 million in the red.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl, in a letter sent to Patch, pointed out that in addition to the cuts, there will be increased spending for tree trimming, more library hours, and re-surfacing up to 800 miles of city streets.
"Our budget increases funding for summer youth jobs, restores money for cleaning our parks and public restrooms, creates a proactive code enforcement unit in the Planning Department, and provides utility bill subsidies for an additional 11,400 elderly and disabled residents," Rosendahl wrote.
The budget relies on $83 million in one-time revenues, including more than $76 million that still needs to be approved by the federal and state governments and might not be available until January or later. The budget increases the city's emergency reserve fund by $7.5 million, bringing it to 4.8 percent of the city's general fund budget, but shy of the city's 5 percent goal.
The council approved the budget on a unanimous vote after an hours-long
Villaraigosa's original proposed budget called for the elimination of 669 positions, including 269 layoffs.
The mayor's draft was amended last week by the Budget and Finance Committee, which approved a plan to delay the layoffs until Jan. 1 after budget officials scraped together roughly $16 million in revenues and found additional cuts to make in city departments.
Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the Budget and Finance Committee and shepherded Villaraigosa's proposed spending plan through more than 40 hours
of committee hearings, said last week the budget was imperfect but "a step in
the right direction."
He said tough budget cuts in recent years have diminished city services dramatically and reduced the size of the city's workforce to Tom Bradley-era levels, leaving the council with few good options to close future deficits.
"There are simply no easy, good solutions to get us to where we need to
go," Krekorian said.
"This year's budget is the result of strong partnerships with neighborhood council budget advocates and city employees," Rosdendahl wrote. "Over the next few months, we will continue to implement structural reforms, and find other ways to make our City government leaner, smarter, and more efficient."
Patch guest editor Anne Louise Bannon also contributed to this story.