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Budget calls for increased fees, job cuts

April 21, 2008 6:55:45 AM PDT
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled his new budget proposal Monday. As expected the plan calls for major cuts across the board as well as an increase in city fees.But despite the bleak outlook, the mayor says he's still determined to get more cops on the street.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Melissa MacBride's report from North Hollywood.

Mayor Villaraigosa says these are challenging times for L.A. He says the city could take the easy way out and not hire more police officers and not make road repairs, but he says that is simply not an option.

Instead, there are going to be layoffs and fee hikes in order to help offset the city's $406 million budget deficit. The deficit is a record for the city of Los Angeles.

Although the mayor plans to cut hundreds of jobs, the cuts won't affect public safety. The mayor says the LAPD will have the means to hire 780 new officers and the fire department will add 250 firefighters to its ranks.

The mayor's budget considers fighting gang violence and youth development top priorities.

To find new hires for the LAPD and LAFD, residents will have to pay more for garbage pick up. The cost will increase by about 30 percent, from $26 to $32. The fees for parking, adopting a pet, playing golf, or getting your car from the LAPD impound will also go up.

Departments throughout the city will have to identify jobs that can be eliminated.

The mayor says his budget requires making tough choices.

"To continue the buildup of the LAPD in a time of economic crisis, we're asking more of our residents," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "But for every dollar in new revenues, my budget proposes a $1.50 in budget cuts. We'll eliminate 767 positions, which will almost certainly lead to layoffs of hundreds of people."

The jobs that will be affected have not yet been identified. The mayor says the process of laying-off workers is very complicated and will not start until after July 1. There will also be furloughs for city employees.

On the bright side of the budget proposal, there will be more police officers on the streets and more road repairs across the city.

 

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