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LA City Council prepares for vote on $7.2 billion budget

The Los Angeles City Council is expected to approve the city's $7.2 billion budget on Monday.
The Los Angeles City Council is expected to approve the city's $7.2 billion budget on Monday. Chris Hall/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Angelenos had their final opportunity to weigh in on the city’s $7.2 billion budget today as the Los Angeles City Council prepares for a final vote on the spending plan.

Council members will meet at City Hall on Monday to discuss and vote on any possible changes to a plan that avoids 209 layoffs -- at least until January. Since Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released his budget April 20, members of the Budget and Finance Committee have spent more than 40 hours combing through the proposal.

“Is this a good budget? In a perfect world, of course this is not a good budget. Of course we want to do more for the programs that we care about,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the committee.

“Given the limitations that we’re facing, given the restrictions that are before us, because of the work that we’ve done today, this is, I believe, a balanced budget that attempts to address the structural deficiencies that we have in our budget.” 

The city of Los Angeles’ workforce has been reduced by one-third in the last four years, down to a level not seen since Mayor Tom Bradley’s administration. 

The proposed budget calls for a $5 increase in all parking fines. Fines associated with handicap parking, which include blocking access ramps and misusing parking for the disabled, would increase $10. 

The budget closes a $238 million deficit. The mayor has also called for increasing the retirement age of civilian employees to 67. Maximum retirement allowances would also be capped at 75 percent of an employees’ final compensation. 

Thanks to a ballot measure approved by voters last year, the city’s branch libraries will have expanded hours on Monday and Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings. Measure R funds will be used to resurface 800 miles of city streets and repair 350,000 potholes. 

In a sign that Monday will likely be a long day, Council President Herb Wesson told his colleagues to wear casual, business attire.  

“You don’t have to wear a tie,” Wesson said. “Let’s stay away from swimming trunks and tank tops, things like that."

The city council will meet on Monday at 10 a.m. The city’s fiscal year will begin on July 1.

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