AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ“You’re going to ask us to take 8percent from our budget,” said Fire Commission President Genethia Hudley-Hayes, who noted she is “someone who does oversight of the Fire Department for the city of Los Angeles.” “In good conscience, I can’t do that. I won’t do that.” City agencies were asked to submit their budget requests by Thursday for the Mayor’s Office to review. The mayor, who is scheduled to meet today with general managers, had asked each department to cut back amid a projected $75 million shortfall next year. Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo said the mayor wanted all departments – including police and fire – to follow his directive. “That being said, the mayor’s top priority is public safety,” Szabo said. “The budget he submits in April will give priority to police, fire and other critical public-safety services.” Los Angeles’ police and fire departments defied Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s call Tuesday to cut their budgets for next year and instead proposed major spending increases to improve public safety and emergency services. Commissions that govern the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Fire Department said they could not submit budget proposals with the 8 percent reduction requested by Villaraigosa without imposing draconian cuts, including layoffs. Instead, both agencies submitted budget requests to the Mayor’s Office that call for increases – $250 million more for the LAPD and $72 million for the LAFD. Funding for the agencies represents more than half the city’s total general-fund budget. If adopted, the LAPD would have a budget of $1.5 billion while the LAFD would have $607 million. Police Commissioner John Mack said the LAPD needs the money in its proposed budget to fund programs required under a federal consent decree and to meet the mayor’s goal of reducing crime. “We as a commission and the public need to recognize, we don’t anticipate by any stretch of the imagination this is the final budget,” Mack said. “Given the tight fiscal climate we are operating in, clearly we have to recognize there will be some hard decisions made, there will have to be some trade-offs.” But, he said, the commission believed it needed to also pay for an in-car camera system to monitor officers for incidents of potential excessive force or racial profiling. “It is important for everyone to understand that the LAPD is going to provide the best services possible and it takes money to accomplish that,” Mack said. Hayes said the LAFD is coping with demands for massive reform after audits by Controller Laura Chick that found continuing problems with racial and sexual harassment. At the same time, demands on the Fire Department – particularly emergency medical care – are rising with the closure of the emergency room at King-Harbor Hospital and the shutdown of other hospitals in the area. Fire Chief Douglas Barry said he has yet to quantify what an 8 percent reduction would mean for services and whether any fire stations would have to close. The LAFD budget was described as already lean, with most of the proposed increases being used for salary boosts and infrastructure improvements. Added to the city’s current fiscal problems is the potential loss of $270 million if the city’s telephone-users tax is ruled illegal. The mayor and City Council have put a measure on the Feb. 5 ballot that would ask voters to put a 9percent telephone tax into effect. “If that doesn’t pass it will hurt more than the Fire Department,” Barry said. “It will hurt the whole city.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!