The city of Los Angeles, the second largest metropolis in the United States, is considering laying off workers for the first time in 25 years because of the economic recession, city officials said on Wednesday.
The layoffs would be carried out once the city decided to cut the city's budget, a city official said on condition of anonymity.
It is not known how many employees might be laid off. The Personnel Department has been directed to identify what positions can be eliminated. That move is in addition to talks with city unions, which are considering a voluntary retirement plan.
"I know that involuntary downsizing will be devastating for the affected individuals and the city as a whole, but I believe I have no choice -- we must plan for various potential outcomes, including layoffs," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
The mayor has proposed to reduce an estimated 86-million-dollardeficit in the current budget. These include raising the fee to spay or neuter pets, adding fewer left-turn arrows on city streets and selling underused fire stations and libraries.
The mayor also suggests pursuing a 20-million-dollar bond to cover major liability lawsuit settlements.
The deficit in the city's 7.1-billion-dollar budget for fiscal year 2008-09 grew 30 million dollars over the past three weeks, from 56 million to 86 million, mainly because property and sales tax collections were much less than anticipated.
Villaraigosa said the city cannot end its fiscal year with a shortfall. The deficit for fiscal year 2009-10, which starts July 1,2009, is expected to be 432 million dollars.
"In this turbulent environment, it is imprudent to leave an unsolved budget deficit and hope for better conditions. I am therefore outlining the first of what will be many steps I believe we must take to respond to current and likely ongoing fiscal decline," he said.