Prompted by an outcry from city workers, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday was urged to try to renegotiate the rate the city is being charged by banks in interest and for foreclosed properties, a total that could amount to $500 million.

The workers, joined by community leaders, demonstrated in front of the Mellon Bank in downtown Los Angeles before marching to City Hall to voice their protests and call on the city to seek the funds and restore city services.

“We ask the full City Council and mayor to work with us to choose to fix our streets and not fund Wall Street,” said Bob Schoonover, president of SEIU Local 721. “We are bargaining to fix Los Angeles and make Los Angeles a better place to live.”

Cheryl Parisi, chair of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, said her group wanted to work with the city to restore the services lost over the last five years because of the recession that saw the city workforce reduced by 5,000 workers.

“That means a diminution of the quality of life in the city,” Parisi said. “City services and quality of life are inexorably linked.”

Councilman Paul Koretz has introduced a proposal that would require the city to continue negotiating with the banks but with the threat to cut any off from future city business if there is no change in the rate policies.

Under his plan, the City Administrative Officer would report back to the Budget and Finance Committee on the status of negotiations and the City Attorney’s Office would propose other steps the city can take.