Garcetti to deliver State of City address amid coronavirus crisis

Mayor Eric Garcetti will deliver his annual State of the City address on Sunday with budget cuts and the coronavirus outbreak expected to be the main topics.  

The 5:15 p.m. speech will be a much-understated event compared to the usual pomp and circumstance that surrounds the State of the City address. Gone will be the usually packed room of city dignitaries and business leaders who normally attend the annual event. 

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The speech will basically be an extended version of Garcetti's nightly coronavirus updates, even being presented at the same time.  

The coronavirus outbreak that has largely shut down the city will be the main topic of discussion the efforts to combat it, its impact on the local economy and the cutbacks it is likely to prompt.  

Garcetti is expected to release his budget proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year Monday. It will likely include calls for across-the-board cuts and potentially employee furloughs to offset the dramatic revenue reductions the economic shutdown has wrought.  

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Garcetti said Thursday that "every department will be expected to make cuts," although the police and fire departments will be largely spared in terms of personnel reductions. However, he warned that those agencies "are not immune from managing their money, cut and make sure we don't have any fat."  

City Controller Ron Galperin has estimated the city will fall about $231 million short in projected revenue this fiscal year, and as much as $598 million next year. He said the shortfalls will strain the city's ability to provide services and will require "some very difficult budgeting decisions" this year and in the future.  

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the City Council's Budget andFinance Committee, noted that the city has been building its reserves in recent years, helping to offset the steep financial losses now being seen.  

"I'm really proud of the fact that we ... the council and two mayors now, have spent so much time and energy developing that reserve fund so that we would be prepared for a rainy day," Krekorian said. "And it is very stormy right now."