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City Budget Committee Votes to Delay Layoffs Until 2013

The City Council Budget and Finance Committee Tuesday approved a plan to delay layoffs of more than 200 city workers until Jan. 1, after budget officials found an extra approximately $16 million in revenues and through additional cuts to city departments.

The budget proposal approved unanimously by the committee recommends the city use half of the money to defer the layoffs while the City Council decides how best to use the funds.

“While we want to try to protect jobs … our first goal is restoring services, not protecting jobs for their own sake,” said City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the budget committee.

The money to delay the layoffs came from a variety of sources, including about $6.6 million in one-time revenues, $2.4 million from an increase in parking fines and $5 million in unused funds across a wide variety of city departments.

An additional $5.8 million became available after the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller revised upward the amount of property tax revenue that will go to the city.

The committee’s approved budget restored about $40 million to the embattled Los Angeles Fire Department, which has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent months after officials admitted improperly reporting emergency response times.

The committee maintained $500,000 for an independent study of the department’s response times.

The recommended budget gutted funding from a proposal by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to provide seed money for a new non-profit economic development entity to replace the defunct Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles.

The committee’s budget plan goes to the full City Council for debate on Friday and a vote on Monday.