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Los Angeles city budget avoids layoffs, increases penalties on parking tickets

Exterior view of Los Angeles City Hall

California Historical Society/USC Digital Archives

A spending plan approved by the Budget and Finance Committee delays 209 layoffs while increasing the fines for all parking violations in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles city employees whose jobs had been on the chopping block received a six-month reprieve today as members of the Budget and Finance Committee agreed to keep them on the payroll as elected officials look for additional revenue sources.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposed budget had called for 231 layoffs, two-thirds of which would have impacted civilian, administrative staff at the Los Angeles Police Department. The city’s chief legislative analyst reduced that projection to 209 layoffs, before they were pushed back to Jan. 1, 2013.

“Our first goal is restoring services – not protecting jobs for their own sake,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.

“As we restore services, where are they most appropriate to fulfill the core mission of this city?”

About $6.7 million in funds discovered by the CLA offset the layoffs. Additionally, the city of Los Angeles will receive $5.8 million more in property taxes than originally estimated.

The spending plan approved today increases the penalty for all parking violations by $5. Parking tickets related to handicap spots will increase $10. The plan eliminates a proposed $10 increase for street sweeping tickets. The new fees are expected to bring in at least $2.4 million. 

The mayor’s proposal to set aside $2.5 million for economic development was slashed to $500,000, and plans to spend $750,000 on a Los Angeles Fire Department  study and another $500,000 on the fire alerting system were cut by a half-million dollars.

Money to recruit new firefighters was eliminated, as was the budget that allows Angelenos to testify to city council remotely from Van Nuys and San Pedro.

Deputy city attorneys will continue to have 34 furlough days. A proposal to increase the furloughs to 36 days and use the savings to hire workers compensation investigators was rejected, though additional investigators may be hired with funds from civil lawsuit settlements.

“If you have more workers comp investigators, there’s going to save a significant amount of money to the city in reducing our risks, reducing our number of claims,” Krekorian said.

The Los Angeles City Council will vet the $7.2 billion budget on Friday. A final vote is scheduled for next Monday, and the fiscal year begins on July 1. 

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