Newly Approved City Budget Increases Parking Fines, Delays Layoffs
The new budget plans to increase parking fines—up $5 for most and $10 for those related to handicap parking—to generate about $2.4 million.
KPCC reported the first incarnation of the plan introduced in April included laying off roughly 230 employees, but property taxes and unforeseen funds have eased the blow.
Council members seemed satisfied with the budget changes, voting unanimously to approve it after more than five hours of discussion.
“The real budget solution that the city faces is to get businesses back in the city and to get people back to work and when those things happen, we’ll have a much easier time delivering services to our constituents,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.
Reimbursements from emergency medical services and funds from the Community Redevelopment Agency are included in the budget.
“I think that the projections that we’ve made are sound,” Krekorian said. “They’ve certainly been vetted and whether they prove to be correct, time will tell but we’ve done the best that we can.”
The Los Angeles Times reported Villaraigosa issued a statement after the vote, saying he was pleased that it preserved public safety as a priority and included plans to expand services like street maintenance.
Not all city entities are so happy with the changes. The Los Angeles Fire Department expected to see $279,000 next year for recruitment efforts. The department will hire 150 new firefighters next year, and has already identified some 17,000 interested applicants.
According to KPCC, Fire Chief Brian Cummings was concerned the loss of expected funds might hurt attempts to increase diversity.
“Without targeted recruitment, we do not get the diversity that we need in our applicant pool,” Cummings said.
“If we do nothing, looking at the numbers, the raw numbers that we have right now, we know we will be seriously challenged with diversity issues as we go through the hiring process.”
“Rather than setting aside that quarter of a million dollars now, let’s take a look to see as that hiring process begins whether that large backlog pool of applicants will allow them to achieve the diversity goals that they should have,” he said.
If that proves to be true, money could be added back into the budget later on in the fiscal year, Krekorian said.
The funding changes for the department are among many others in roughly $70 million spending cuts. The budget also called for a discontinuation of furlough days in the city attorney's office, reductions in some community programs and setups in Van Nuys and San Pedro that have allowed residents to remotely testify before City Council.
The budget takes effect July 1.