L.A. budget passes with 1,200 layoffs

LOS ANGELES Unlike previous years, when the mayor held a news conference to sign the budget, approval of the 2009-10 spending plan was announced through a letter to members of the Los Angeles City Council.

As budget deliberations began, the city faced a $529 million deficit. To close that gap, the budget calls for 1,200 layoffs and 26 furlough days for civilian employees -- equal to a 10 percent pay cut -- and stops the Los Angeles Police Department's efforts to increase the size of the force.

An additional 781 layoffs and 11 furlough days, plus a $54 million cut to police officers and firefighters, could still be ordered because of an additional $95 million hole that was created when the council refused to approve funding transfers recommended by the mayor.

Villaraigosa's budget included $77 million from the privatization of parking structures and meters, $10 million in redevelopment funds and $8 million from the sale of a city-owned property.

The council has agreed to study the benefits of selling its parking assets.

"As I know you understand, the nature of the economic crisis will require us to calibrate and adjust the fiscal year 2009-10 budget to constantly evolving realities," Villaraigosa wrote in his letter to the council. "The duration and depth of the recession, the impact of the state budget crisis on the city and the outcome of negotiations with our labor partners remain uncertain."

General managers of city departments have been directed to submit plans on how to manage their employees and continue to offer services given the uncertainty of the economy.

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