While Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was jetting around Europe for a $120,000, taxpayer-funded trip this month, City Controller Wendy Greuel was counting the city's money, and what she found isn't not even half has pretty as Copenhagen in December: The city is now looking at a 98.1 million deficit for the fiscal year, and payroll is running at $85 million in the red.
Greuel wrote a letter to the mayor (welcome back) and the city council this week warning that the deficit could drain the city's reserves, which could push the city toward bankruptcy according to some. “I do not support depleting the reserve fund to maintain staffing levels this year, only to face more challenging issues next year,” she wrote.
Last week city administrative officer Miguel Santana said he believes layoffs are “inevitable” as a result of the red ink. And city Councilman Eric Garcetti used the “b” word: “Bankruptcy could visit Los Angeles in less than 12 months if we don't continue to downsize the workforce … ,” he said.
Projects already put the city at a $406 million deficit for the next fiscal year. That would mean the city would be spending about $1.1 million a day more than it takes in.