- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday proposed a nearly $8.6 billion city budget that adds millions for police and public safety programs and services such as tree trimming and sidewalk repair.

With a predicted rise in tax revenue, Garcetti’s spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 would maintain funding for 10,000 police officers; outfit 7,000 LAPD officers with body cameras; add $5.5 million for the city’s anti-gang program and expand a domestic abuse response program.

The proposal comes as LA deals with its first spike in violent crime in a decade.

The budget also provides money to hire and train 180 new firefighters.

The balanced budget is larger than that for several states. It relies on increased tax revenues as the city emerges from the recession. In his introduction, Garcetti said construction and tourism were soaring.

He said the value of construction in the city reached $6.4 billion last year, exceeding the pre-recession peak; the city had a record 43.4 million visitors; hotels broke a city record with an average occupancy rate of 79 percent and 70,000 more people were employed since July 2013, marking the fastest employment rise in more than a decade.

The budget also emphasizes what Garcetti calls his “back to basics” agenda. It would add millions for fixing potholes, repairing sidewalks and doubling the budget for tree trimming to cover more than 57,000 trees. It provides an additional $4.1 million to expand street-cleaning and adds money for 1,200 new trash bins.

About $31 million would be budgeted for sidewalk repairs. Earlier this month, the city agreed to spend $1.4 billion over 30 years on sidewalk repair in a settlement of a lawsuit filed by disabled residents.

The spending plan also will provide $10 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to provide low-income housing.

It also sets aside $435 million in reserves.

The proposal assumes there won’t be any raises for about 20,000 city employees. However, contract negotiations have stalled and raised the possibility of a strike.

A City Council committee will begin holding public hearings on the budget proposal later this month.

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