City Council Gives Up Discretionary Funds

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 02: Los Angeles kicks off "Live Earth" by turning the lights of City Hall green at the Department of Water & Power on July 2, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

    Los Angeles City Council members voted Thursday to put $12 million of their so-called discretionary funds into the emergency reserve, but it represents only a portion of the money that the mayor has asked them to turn over.

    The City Council's 15 members agreed to chip in $800,000 each.

    Some will turn over AB 1290 funds, which represents a portion of the property taxes paid by residents in community redevelopment areas within their districts.

    City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana had recommended transferring all $10 million of AB 1290 funds into the emergency reserve.

    Each member of the council controls several accounts and trust funds, some of which capture portions of revenue from property sales, oil pipeline franchising fees and ads placed on city bus shelters and kiosks.

    There are limitations on how some of the money can be spent. For example, a portion of the "community amenities trust fund" must be used to mitigate the effects of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill. Funds in another trust fund can be spent only for projects in Venice.

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa a few weeks ago called on the council to turn over about $40 million in discretionary funds.

    Several members of the council said they and their staffs are already taking pay cuts and/or furlough days, but expressed willingness to consider further reductions.