By Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com
LOS ANGELES –LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed June 4 the adopted city budget that keeps the City’s commitment to putting 1,000 new cops on the streets by 2010.
The $7.1 billion budget also expands street repair and maintenance, organizes and increases funding for gang prevention and intervention programs, and maintains the City’s investment in police and fire services.
“The budget I signed today reflects my values as mayor and the values of the City Council, because this budget keeps the promises we made to the residents of Los Angeles,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “We have kept our promise by focusing on our priorities and making fiscally responsible decisions in a tough economic environment.”
Unlike in the past 9 years, the Mayor’s budget does not call for the transfer funds out of the City’s reserve fund to balance the City’s books.
Placing public safety at the top of the agenda, the 2008-09 budget allocates funds to hire new police officers, increases funding for the Fire Department, and invests more than $24 million in gang prevention, intervention and reentry programs.
“Our central values and central responsibility is to protect public safety,” Mayor
Villaraigosa said. “We made a promise to put 1,000 new officers on the street, and this budget keeps this promise.”
The new budget will also expand street resurfacing and maintenance to 735 miles, and keep the City on-track toward filling one million potholes.
In an effort to improve mobility and reduce traffic congestion throughout LA, the 2008-09 budget will synchronize 348 traffic signals and install 147 new left-turn signals.
Of the $3.78 billion in unrestricted revenue in this year’s budget, approximately 70 percent is directed toward LAPD and LAFD to continue the police buildup and preserve the City’s emergency response system.
On top of the funds dedicated to securing LA’s neighborhood and protecting public safety, the Public Works, Transportation and Planning agencies receive close to 10 percent of the funds; the departments of Recreation and Parks and Cultural Affairs get just under seven percent; LA’s public libraries receive three percent; and the remainder of the money will go to a host of additional City programs.