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Mayor Villaraigosa Announces Launch Of Interactive Budget Survey

New survey is designed to garner feedback and educate residents on the challenges of balancing the City’s Budget

LOS ANGELES – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today announced the launch of the ‘Los Angeles Budget Challenge’, an interactive online budget survey that allows Angelenos to provide input on real budget issues the City is facing through a budget balancing simulation. The Budget Challenge is also designed to educate users on the inner workings of the City’s Budget.

“Balancing the budget is an obligation that has become an ever greater challenge in difficult economic times,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “This year’s Budget survey is more interactive and gives neighborhood council members the opportunity to understand what is at stake by simulating the real financial decisions our City is facing.”

An important part of the budget development process, the City Charter requires that each neighborhood council have the opportunity to present the Mayor and Council an annual list of priorities for the City budget. For the past four years, Mayor Villaraigosa has implemented a structured process to ensure that all neighborhood councils and community members have the opportunity to become informed about the City budget and have the ability to submit their ideas, comments, and budget priorities directly to his office.

“This year’s Budget survey is a far more interactive tool than ever before,” said Larry Frank, Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood and Community Services. “It provides a profound opportunity for neighborhood council members to gain a deeper understanding of the situation, while giving feedback in a meaningful way. It digs in on the size of the deficit, the Modified Coverage Plan at the Fire Department, the pension issue, as well as the possible revenue opportunities.”

“I thank Mayor Villaraigosa for his continued engagement with neighborhood councils through the Budget process,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners. “This is a great way to ensure that residents of Los Angeles understand the difficult choices facing our city leaders in these grim economic times and have an active voice in prioritizing the services and expenditures that we believe are most important.”

The Los Angeles Budget Challenge asks respondents to address next year’s projected General Fund budget deficit of approximately $400 million by making decisions on reductions to programs and services, implementing citywide cost cutting measures and raising revenue through taxes or other initiatives.

The Los Angeles Budget Challenge is also intended to provide educational information about the City’s finances and opportunities for community input, thereby making the budget process more transparent and accessible.

A link to the Los Angeles Budget Challenge will be available on the City’s homepage at http://lacity.org/

The Los Angeles Budget Challenge can also be directly accessed by visiting:

http://labudgetchallenge.lacity.org/budgetchallenge/

Responses to the Los Angeles Budget Challenge will be compiled, analyzed and presented to Neighborhood Council budget representatives and community members at a budget workshop meeting in early March. Participants will be able to provide additional input on budget priorities as well as take part in a dialogue on City budget issues.

The Mayor’s Office licensed the budget challenge software from Next 10, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that in 2005 released the “California Budget Challenge” to engage Californians in the State budget process.

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