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Council uses discretionary funds for deficit

February 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
L.A. City Council members are giving up millions of dollars from their separate district funds to deal with the budget crisis.The members of the Los Angeles City Council voted to use $12 million of their own discretionary money to help balance the budget. The money will go into the Reserve Fund.

The council also voted to eliminate 4,000 positions to help erase a deficit is doing what it can to keep people on the payroll.

"That would be $800,000 per office," said Councilman Greig Smith. "Let you figure out which funds you want to pull from to hit that number."

The action shrinks a $212-million deficit.

"This budget will not be balanced on the backs of poor people," said Councilman Herb Wesson. "It's just not going to happen."

It is going to be balanced in part on the backs of city workers like those who filled the city council chambers Wednesday, pleading for their jobs.

The savings are aimed mostly at next year's nearly half-billion-dollar deficit. Two hundred positions have already been transferred to departments that pay for themselves.

"When we eliminate 4,000 positions in city government, we're saving nearly $300 million in the General Fund. So we only have $200 million to go after that," said L.A. City Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana.

City Council President Eric Garcetti says it takes months to lay off civil service and union employees. So they have to have something in place by July 1.

The Council is asking employees to take an extra pay cut to make up the rest of the deficits.

"We have employees who are coming, saying, 'Please give me a pay cut instead of a layoff for me or for my coworkers,'" said Garcetti.

As Garcetti says, the council is looking at having city-run parking lots privatized.

The city is looking to see if it can make money on the L.A. Zoo. It costs $17 million a year and the city is looking for a way to have private contractors run it.

There is also a move to see about having the city's 13 golf courses operated by private contractors. Anything to save money.