LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to put a measure on the March ballot that would preserve emergency funds.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who put forth the proposal, said she wanted to protect the emergency reserve fund from being depleted to finance city operations in times of budget crisis.

The proposed ballot measure states that the money could be used only in case of “urgent economic necessity, civil unrest, natural disasters and any other unforeseen economic catastrophe that the council and mayor find to be cataclysmic enough to tap into the reserve fund.”

The council would have to declare a “state of emergency,” and the mayor would have to approve, before any withdrawals could be made from the emergency reserve fund. The council could do so without mayoral approval with a vote of two-thirds.

Perry said that in the early 1990s, city officials relied so heavily on the emergency reserve fund that the account held as little as $10 to 15 million at one point, causing economic uncertainty.

The proposed ballot measure would also create a “budget stabilization account” where the city’s surplus funds could be deposited in times of economic prosperity. Money could also be withdrawn from the account during a crisis.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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