Facing a tough budget year, the Los Angeles City Council approved Monday a $6.8 billion budget that again boosts the ranks of the LAPD, while holding the line or providing modest increases in other city services. Even as council members congratulated themselves on passing a fiscally conservative spending plan, city budget officials warned that Los Angeles could face dramatic funding cuts in the coming year. “As we look at this year and future years, there’s a lot of fiscal uncertainty,” said Councilman Bernard Parks, who chairs the council’s budget and finance committee. There’s slowing revenue growth and a backlog of infrastructure projects, Parks said. “We also know there is rising health care, pension issues, workers compensation, and some unprecedented legal issues that we’ll be confronted. All of them could cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.” Indeed, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller said his staff will begin to develop backup plans in case the city loses up to $260 million in utility users taxes that are being challenged in court. And Parks said the city would have to consider cutting personnel and programs, if those funds are lost. In the face of potential budget troubles, city leaders voted to place more money in the reserve fund, increasing the savings account to $201 million – the largest it has even been, officials said. In addition, the council supported Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposal to raise fees for brush clearance, ambulance service and planning, police and street services permits. And the council moved up implementation of a $26 trash-collection fee – from Jan. 1, 2008, to this September – in order to significantly increase funding for the Los Angeles Police Department to hire 780 officers this year. “We’ve known we’ve seen choppy waters in the fiscal environment of late and we have put aside the necessary funding to make sure Los Angeles remains the strongest big city in America fiscally,” Council President Eric Garcetti said of the city spending plan. The budget approved Monday includes: $2 million to help with the restoration of Griffith Park after a recent wildfire. $10 million to hire 250 new Fire Department recruits. $280,000 to complete several community plans. In addition, the council increased funding for sidewalk repair by $4 million and tree trimming by $1 million after those budgets were cut by the mayor. Council members also voted to provide $1.3 million for 1,250 new Tasers for LAPD officers, and they restored $1.75 million for City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to hire gang prosecutors, school safety specialists and other positions. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Three men had earlier approached the teens and asked them “Where they were from,” police said. The boys denied any gang affiliation. The suspects fired five to six shots, police said. They then fled eastbound into the west alley of Whittier Avenue to a waiting getaway vehicle, described as a compact car. Witnesses told officers the car left southbound and out of sight. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Whittier Police Department at (562) 945-8250. Salsa Grill needs your Fox vote PICO RIVERA – The Salsa Grill needs your help. Nominated as one of L.A.’s best Mexican restaurants on My Fox LA’s Hot List, the eatery is currently a close second in voting. Supporters can log on to www.thesalsagrill.com, scroll down and click “vote” to cast your ballot. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to you from My Fox to tabulate the final vote. Voting continues until Friday. Local restaurants are giving thanks WHITTIER – Several Whittier restaurants are joining the Boys & Girls Club of Whittier to provide a traditional Thanksgiving feast to more than 300 club members and parents Wednesday night. Marie Callender’s, El Pollo Loco, Red Robin, Chili’s, Subway at the Quad, Acapulco, Domino’s and Ralphs have all donated food. Many of the club’s children come from economically disadvantaged households, so the feast will be a welcome holiday treat. The Boys & Girls Club is open throughout school vacations during the holidays but will be closed on Friday to give staff time with their families. Special holiday hours are 10a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Dec. 17 through Jan. 4. For information, call (562) 945-3787, ext. 107. Domino’s raising dough for St. Jude WHITTIER – The recognized world leader in pizza delivery is gearing up to raise some dough for the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during its 2007 “Thanks and Giving” campaign. The Domino’s at 13205 Whittier Blvd. is asking customers to donate a dollar or two with their orders to benefit St. Jude. The campaign runs through Dec. 31. St. Jude is recognized internationally for its pioneering work in finding cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. For information, call (562) 945-7693. Prayer breakfast on tap Dec. 7 WHITTIER – The YMCA of Greater Whittier is sponsoring the 28th annual Christmas Prayer Breakfast at 7 a.m. Dec. 7 at the Radisson Hotel Whittier, 7320 Greenleaf Ave. The featured speaker is Dr. Lloyd J. Ogilvie, former chaplain of the U.S. Senate and pastor of Hollywood Presbyterian Church. The breakfast costs $15 per person or $150 for a table of 10. Reservations are required and seating is limited. RSVP by Dec.3 at (562) 907-2727. – From staff reports 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – Detectives are looking for three men who are suspected of shooting and wounding two teens on Friday. The 17-year-old victims, both Whittier residents, were still in hospitals on Monday, according to Whittier police Officer Jason Zuhlke. He said the teens were listed in stable condition. One was shot in the hip while the other was struck in the leg. The shooting happened Friday afternoon in the 7200 block of Whittier Avenue. Whittier police responding to a call of shots fired with a victim down across the street from John Greenleaf Whittier Park found the second wounded teen.