Los Angeles City Council backs off police, fire cuts in $7 billion budget

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The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved a nearly $7 billion budget that cuts an array of city services to address a deficit of more than $300 million.

The council cut nearly $50 million from the Fire Department. That will shut down at least two-dozen fire trucks.

The fire chief said the cuts won’t affect public safety. He noted that the department’s already pulling trucks out of service on a rotating basis.

The council rejected Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to permanently eliminate more than 300 firefighter jobs, although a hiring freeze continues.

City officials said they may be able to resume hiring if firefighters agree to contribute more to their retirement health care plans – and if tax revenues improve.

While the council rejected furloughs at the police department, it slashed police overtime for a second year. It also reduced funding to recreation and parks, homeless and neighborhood council programs. The budget includes up to 36 unpaid furlough days for thousands of city workers who refused to defer pay raises and contribute more to their retirement health care plans.