City Council Looks At Changes To Proposed Budget, Boost To Public Safety

(FOX 11 / CNS) The Los Angeles City Council will consider several changes to Mayor Eric Garcetti's proposed $8.5 billion budget today, including additional funding for public safety.

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The changes result from several weeks of budget-related discussions in the Budget and Finance Committee, and include an additional $4.5 for the fire department to run two more firefighter training classes.

Another $4.5 million was proposed for fire safety equipment, technology upgrades, other fire department services and fingerprint backlog reduction efforts in the police department.

Garcetti released an $8.5 billion budget proposal in April that calls for spending an added $4.1 million for cleaning streets and alleys, another 1,200 trash cans to be placed around the city, putting $1 million into maintaining more park restrooms and increasing the tree-trimming budget by 50 percent.

The mayor's proposed 2015-16 budget also calls for purchasing 7,000 police body cameras and funding more in-car digital cameras for police officers. It also sets aside an additional $5.5 million for the city's anti-gang program and $567,000 to expand a domestic abuse response program to all police stations.

The spending plan assumes revenues will be up 5.5 percent, including property tax, sales tax and hotel tax revenue.

It also assumes that about 20,000 city workers will agree to no raises and paying a bigger percentage of their health-care costs, but talks with city employee unions have dragged on since their contracts expired last year.

This will also be the first year the city is required to budget $31 million toward sidewalk repairs as part of a recent a $1.4 billion settlement of several lawsuits lodged by disabled residents and advocates.

The budget also calls for $10 million to be set aside in the city's affordable housing trust fund to create more homes for low-income residents.

And the plan calls for hiring additional code enforcement and animal control officers.

The budget proposal puts $435 million into reserves.

According to a city report requested by the Budget and Finance Committee, the mayor proposes taking $80 million from reserves and another $6 million from a budget stabilization fund to help bridge a $165.2 million projected deficit in the upcoming year. The mayor also also draws $56 million from the city's Special Parking Revenue Fund to reduce the deficit, the report said.

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