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Property tax brings $63 million to Los Angeles

April 10, 2010 7:03:59 PM PDT
There was some good news Friday for the struggling L.A. city budget. It appears the financial crisis is easing. It is all about the numbers. And Friday the city council and the mayor got new numbers about the city's financial future.

"I think the news in the financial status report shows no need for two days a week that people are going to be furloughed, that we can finish the year in the black," said L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti.

One of the reasons the city has $26 million more than expected in property tax revenue is foreclosures are up. Taxes are paid.

"It's not finding money like we had it and didn't know it was there. It's not like getting a paycheck where you know every week your check is a certain amount," said L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks. "Your funds flow in at a very inconsistent rate."

The city is told to take $80 million out of its reserves. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has so far refused to transfer a promised $73 million to the city.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has only asked the DWP for $20 million.

"I can't compel the commission to do that if they think that it would in any way violate their fiduciary responsibility to ratepayers or cause a downgrade," said Villaraigosa.

Without the DWP money the deficit would be $222.4 million.

If the city takes $80 million out of the reserve, the reserve drops to $39 million. But the city's goal is a five-percent reserve. Without the DWP money, it's only 0.9 percent.

The mayor defends his request for plans to have only a three-day workweek if needed.

"A lot of these are assumptions. They could move up four or five million or go down four or five million. I don't want to be in a position where we haven't done the due diligence, made the appropriate action to be fiscally responsible here," said Villaraigoa.

Some time next week this will all come to a crucial point once again. The DWP Board of Commissioners will meet and presumably ask for another rate increase. All of that will determine what the city gets from its own utility.


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