Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council starts review of Mayor Eric Garcetti's budget

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Mayor Eric Garcetti's $8.1 billion proposed budget focuses on making Los Angeles a safer, more prosperous city, his budget chief told members of the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday as they begin two weeks of budget hearings. 

The Budget and Finance Committee is scheduled to meet through May 13 to review the budget documents for each city department. When the committee's work is done, the full L.A. City Council will vote to approve the spending document, which takes effect on July 1. 

Deputy Mayor Rick Cole said improving the overall economy is a key to boosting the city's finances in the coming years. 

“It’s a question of people not needing to rely on the city and the county and the state government," said Cole, "because they’re employed in quality jobs that pay the rent at a time when rents are at an all-time high." 

The mayor has repeatedly said he is focused on the outcome of spending decisions. As an example, Cole said the next fiscal year will see improvements to the Fire Department that will better equip firefighters and paramedics to handle disasters. 

“We need to begin long term reform of the fire department to provide services that are no longer just about responding to and fighting fires, but have to do with a wide range of emergency medical and natural disaster and social interventions that mean that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they are often on the front lines of some of the challenges we face," Cole said. 

The Budget and Finance Committee is expected to discuss spending for the Los Angeles Police Department, Animal Services and libraries Wednesday afternoon. 

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