Last week, the Inglewood City Council used its Tuesday meeting to take a bold step that included publicly declaring a fiscal emergency, and officials said they might have to use layoffs and cutbacks to remedy the problem.
Among the actions taken to save money and prevent possible bankruptcy, the council voted to close Fire Station 172, which sits on Centinela Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard; close City Hall every Friday rather than every other Friday; and close Morningside Library indefinitely.
The cuts are expected to save the city more than $3 million annually.
According to City Administrator Mark Weinberg, Inglewood is facing a deficit of $17.6 million, and a very low reserve balance of $5.8 million. The declaration of the fiscal emergency will, among other things, aid the city’s eligibility for any further federal assistance that may become available.
On a more positive note, Weinberg stated that in the last few months the city has achieved a 20 percent reduction in its operating budget, in part through the elimination of 150 full and part-time staff positions.
Councilwoman Judy Dunlap approved the declaration, but was the only councilmember to oppose the cuts, saying that instead it would be best to cut the three percent raise in worker retirement benefits and ask employees to reduce their health benefits. That way, the layoffs would no longer be a necessity.
Los Angeles County Fire Chief Michael P. Freeman said in a statement that Fire Station 172, which was chosen for closure because it is reportedly the least busy of the city’s four stations, will be closed for three years, and the paramedic squad based at the location will not be laid off, but rather sent to Fire Station 171 on Regent Street.