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L.A. council cuts $18 million, puts off new furloughs

The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to cut more than $18 million from this year's budget but postponed a decision on the two most controversial proposals -– new furloughs and a major reduction in graffiti removal services.

The council refused to back a $1.8-million cut to the Department of Recreation and Parks, which was expected to lead to more unpaid days off for its employees. But the council agreed to cut $1 million from the budgets for its own offices and that of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Friday's vote also included a $1-million reduction to the office of City Atty. Carmen Trutanich.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the city's top budget official, said he would come back with a report explaining what services would be reduced if the city moved ahead with his latest budget-cutting plan -– forcing certain civilian workers to take another 10 unpaid days off before June 30. Some are already required to take 26 days this year.

Villaraigosa and the council members oppose that plan.

Additional furlough days have been criticized by the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents more than 20,000 civilian city workers.

Julie Butcher, a leader of that coalition, said the group’s members made a "good-faith" effort to address the crisis by voting to increase their health insurance co-payments by $5 for doctors’ visits and by $50 for emergency room visits.

That move, Santana said, would save the general fund, which provides basic services, as much as $8 million per year starting July 1.

The council is trying to close most of this year's budget shortfall by awarding a private company a 50-year lease for nine public parking garages. With less than six month remaining in the fiscal year, that deal still has not been completed.

Santana told the council that he is nervous about the city's ability to borrow money this summer to maintain its cash flow. Even in good years, the city typically issues bonds that are paid off with tax revenue that arrives later in the year.

If the city doesn't make more cuts, he said, it would need to tap its reserve fund before June 30 -– a move that would make it harder to borrow that money.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

 
Comments () | Archives (19)

Unbelievable. What will they know next month that they don't know now?

Friday's vote also included a $1-million reduction to the office of City Atty. Carmen Trutanich.

HAHA

Just make the taggers that get caught pay for the graffiti removal or do it as restitution. Hope they can figure out how to clean up the budget and get CA back on it's feet quickly!

The unions control the City Council. The unions are not concerned with the greater good of Los Angeles County.

Can't you loonies on the left show some true courage and leadership, even in the face of the union thugs that pay for your elections?

It's despicable that the city council wants to keep balancing the budget on the backs of its employees. Yet, they haven't taken pay cuts or given up their slush funds. What a joke. The public needs to vote these jokers out in the next election.

There's nothing controversial about furloughing worthless union slobs from their make-believe jobs. Better luck next time.

The Pint Size Mayor budget could be cut another two million from his budget. He only needs four deputy mayors( his friends) to do his job for him. How many days are Santana, taking off? Nothing has not said about the department heads taking time off without pay.

I liked the term "budget dust".

Nice to clean it up but sweeping around the rubble is more window dressing than clean up.

Wow we just about run out of smoke and mirrors. It looks like sooner or later workers not only will need to be let go but the remaining workers will probably need to take a pay cut as well. And I doubt that will work. Do you think the gang of 15 are doing all they can to buy time and hope they can leave office before the roof caves in. It now looks like mayor Vilar will not get any help from Govenor Jerry either. Word has it they do not see eye to eye.

The Mayor's budget cut? What a crock! Villaraigosa has been "borrowing" staff from other City departments, so his "staff cuts" have been totally bogus. The departments he "borrows" from are not happy about it, but they have nothing to say about it. If any managers were to complain, their jobs would be in jeopardy.

How does a $5 hike in co-pays save $8 million a year? That's an average of $400 for each of the 20,000 union members in the coalition. Even assuming an emergency room visit every year, that's still an average of 70 doctor visits a year per union-member household. Really?

Unions are a big part of the problem, they are over paid and have boated pensions. all on the tax payers dime. Absolved the state workers union and if they do not like it, show them the door.

The cost of issuing municipal bonds has increased by 20% in the last 3 days. The lenders are more aware of our problems than the politicians. They just are going to fund the cities without a much higher rate of return. It is only going to get worse.

Don't worry its not the end of the world for LA. But its just around the corner!

This is so entertaining. I will have to get more popcorn.

The Mayor losing all his staff would have little impact on the performance of the city and would net huge savings. Cutting City Attorney budget is to cut off the nose to spite the face. If there are'nt enough attorneys to fight cases against the city, they can pay them out of the General Fund. How much is the city going to pay the family of the football kid the police shot at Playa Vista?

The unions or city workers do not control the City's purse strings, they don't vote on City Council budget decisions and they have no say-so over the spending of the City's tax revenue. When the economy was booming along, a city job was for losers, drop-outs and those that couldn't "make it" in the "real world". Now that jobs are scarce, and the economy sucks; somehow they're to blame and are now "overpaid". But don't you worry, folks, when the economy booms again, they'll go back to being losers and drop outs who couldn't make it in the "real world". I guess a scapegoat is needed to draw attention away from all those years of mismanagement, negligence, waste, fraud, conflict of interest and incompetence.

@Bob Johnson - do you consider the 911 operators and jail detention officers to be worthless slobs in made-up jobs? Because these are just 2 of the groups that the Mayor and Council are currently imposing furlough time on...but not THEIR staffs, or Parking Enforcement, DWP, etc. This means longer wait times when the public calls the police, and less police in patrol because they are being pulled to backfill in the jails. We all know there is a lot of bloat and waste in the City, but please stop referring to ALL of us as lazy and worthless.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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