BRIEFLY : Lawndale: Utility Tax, Layoffs Approved

Residents would pay higher taxes and some City Hall employees would lose their jobs under a plan to balance the city's budget, officials said.

The City Council tentatively approved the measures last week to eliminate a projected $1.1-million shortfall for next year. A formal vote is expected June 2.

Council members said they plan to institute the city's first tax on utilities and cable TV. The tax would collect an estimated $66 a year per household and would take effect in October. Senior citizens and low-income and disabled residents would be exempt.

In addition, the council plans to reorganize several departments and lay off about one-fifth of the city's employees. About seven full-time and 10 part-time workers will lose their jobs under the council's proposal. The cuts will come from the planning, finance, public works and community services departments.

The city also plans to hire outside companies to provide some services.

Council members said the utility tax will raise about $800,000 and the cuts will save more than $350,000.

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