Skip to main content

L.A. mayor looks at shutting most city services twice a week

By the CNN Wire Staff
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says Los Angeles must act now to solve its budget crisis.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says Los Angeles must act now to solve its budget crisis.
  • Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: We can no longer wait to address budget crisis
  • Mayor calls on city administrative officer to draft service-cutback plan
  • City's general fund on track to be $10 million in the red May 5, controller says
  • Controller urges mayor to transfer $90 million from reserve funds to pay bills

(CNN) -- The mayor of Los Angeles, California, called Tuesday for a plan to shut down all city services -- except for public safety and revenue-generating positions -- twice a week beginning Monday in an effort to solve the city's budget crisis.

"There are no easy decisions or simple ways to solve this budget crisis," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "But as the CEO of this great city, it is my responsibility to make these difficult, but necessary, decisions to steer the city out of this crisis and onto solid financial ground."

He said he was asking the city administrative officer to develop a plan to shut down the city for two days a week and calculate the money the city would save from the move.

"We can no longer wait. We can no longer keep saying no. We must act now," he said.

The mayor's announcement comes a day after the Department of Water and Power said it will not be paying $73 million to the city's general fund.

The department's interim general manager, S. David Freeman, said the department's anticipated $73.5 million transfer to the city's general fund was contingent on the city's approval of an electricity rate increase, CNN affiliate KTLA reported. The department said the electricity rate increase was necessary because of the rising cost of energy.

The City Council rejected the increase last week. It had earlier approved a more modest increase, but the department's board voted for a higher one, which the council then rejected, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Without the $73.5 million, City Controller Wendy Greuel said, the city's general fund will be negative $10 million on May 5.

She called the situation "the most urgent fiscal crisis" in the city's recent history. She urged the mayor to transfer $90 million from the city's reserve funds so that she could pay city employees and the city's bills.