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Villaraigosa Supports DWP Transfer, but Doesn't Have Authority to Furlough Employees 2 Days a Week

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Speaking to Larry Mantle on KPCC, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this morning said he supports the $73.5 million transfer of LADWP funds to Los Angeles' general budget, which pays for core services like police and streets. Without the transfer, Los Angeles will be out of money by May 5th. However, the Mayor noted that he "can't force [the Board of Water & Power Commissioners] to do something that in their minds that would violate their fiduciary responsibility." The Commissioners, along with the LADWP's General Manager, are appointed by the Mayor. Traditionally the utility makes an annual $220 million transfer in surplus funds to the city's general fund. That amount was budgeted this year and $143 million has already been given, but the LADWP is withholding the $73.5 million because they say a standoff over carbon surcharge-related rate hikes has left them with no surplus (many believe the LADWP is sitting on a large surplus). Credit rating agency Fitch has withheld LADWP's nicely-ranked rating and the city's credit rating was once again downgraded today by Moody Investor Services.

"I can't advise them to break the law," Villaraigosa said of the transfer. "I can't advise them to break their fiduciary responsibility to protect the ratepayers."