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Budget Crisis Update: Librarians, Ice Skaters Rejoice

After raiding the Coke machines in city hall last night, the city's budget committee scrapped together enough funds to save a number of programs from the budget ax. Among other things, the following will be spared: sidewalks improvements, illegal sign enforcement, and library hours (libraries will stay open on Sundays). Additionally, the Los Angeles Times reports the cultural events, like Pershing Square's Downtown on Ice, were saved. The full budget is expected to be approved on Monday, according to the paper. Full press release after the jump.

COUNCIL MOVES TO SAVE TAXPAYERS $71 MILLION, RESTORE CORE SERVICES

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles City Council’s Budget and Finance
Committee concluded its hearings on the Mayor’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year today. The Council leadership announced that it
plans to save taxpayers $71 million dollars and restore funds for core
services, including fire fighters, police officer recruitment, and
street repaving.

“Our priority is to provide public safety and core city services to
Los Angeles residents while balancing our budget and ensuring that our
city remains financially sound in coming years,” said Council
President Eric Garcetti. “Even in this tough budget year, we’ve worked to find a way that we can save taxpayers millions of dollars and restore some of the proposed cuts that directly impact residents.”


“We’ve had to make tough but necessary cuts to get our fiscal house in order, while maintaining the core services that Angelenos rely
upon,” said Council President Pro Tem Wendy Greuel. “I’m proud that we’ve taken some concrete steps to address the long-term structural problems that we face as a City, to ensure that we never have this large a deficit again.”

"I’ve never experienced a budget this challenging,” said Assistant Council President Pro Tem Jan Perry. “It’s important that we convey to our constituents what the challenges are and at the same time consider their interests to the best of our abilities. I believe we have accomplished an important balance.”

"After dozens of hours of deliberation and hard work from the CLA, the
Budget and Finance Committee reflects the concerns of Council in that we
did not want to defer pension payments due to the cost over time. We
focused more on the quality of life issues such as streets, alleys,
trees, signals, and sign ordinances. We also concentrated on prevention
and intervention; we believe that if the libraries are open and
accessible it will aide in the prevention and intervention of gangs and
youth crime," said Councilmember Bernard Parks, who chairs the
Council’s Budget and Finance Committee.

The City Council leadership supports prepayment of the city’s pension obligation rather than paying it quarterly as proposed in the Mayor’s budget. Prepayment will save taxpayers $71 million in finance charges over the next five years.

The City Council leadership also supports restoration of cuts proposed
in the Mayor’s budget that directly impact Los Angeles residents,
including:

? Police officer recruitment efforts
? Firefighter positions
? Sidewalk improvements (restoration of the 50/50 program)
? Funding for illegal sign enforcement and newsrack inspectors
? $3.2 million for the Department of Recreation and Parks
facilities, operations, and maintenance
? Library Sunday hours and $1.5 million for additional materials
? $250,000 for Controller’s audit of anti-gang programs
? Five more new traffic signals
? Street resurfacing

These items are funded by an additional $97 million in revenues that
the Council worked to identify and are above revenues accounted for in
the Mayor’s proposed budget.

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