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Budget cuts or higher parking-lot fees? Tough decisions ahead at L.A. City Hall

February 16, 2011 |  7:39 am

The City Council on Wednesday will once again address the issue of cuts at City Hall and whether they can be lessened by a parking garage deal.

Talk back LAMayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants the City Council to resurrect a plan for leasing nine public parking garages to a private company. Villaraigosa said he still believed that a parking deal could be reached before June 30, just in time to generate $53 million for city coffers for the current budget year. The prospects for a deal were thrown into disarray last week after no firms showed interest in submitting a bid.

The move comes after City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana urged the council to look for other ways of closing this year’s $54-million shortfall. Santana warned last week that it would be financially irresponsible to count on the money in the current budget year, which is already in its eighth month.

Villaraigosa said he did not agree with Santana’s assertion that the parking deal could not be finalized before June 30. “I reject the CAO’s conclusion,” he wrote to the City Council, referring to Santana’s advice, “and I urge you to do the same.”

The City Council reworked the garage plan last month after hearing complaints from businesses in Hollywood, Westwood and elsewhere. Villaraigosa said those changes should be rescinded. He also said that unless the garage deal was completed, the city would need to impose more furlough days on its workforce.

Times City Hall reporter David Zahniser analyzes the situation in the video above.

What you do think of the parking deal? Is it better than making more cuts? Will it be bad for business? Share your views here.