City of Long Beach Unveils Proposed 2020 Budget

On Wednesday Mayor Robert Garcia and City Manager Patrick H. West presented the City of Long Beach’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 20) Budget.

The FY 20 Proposed Budget is $2.8 billion. It continues to provide and enhance the wide array of services expected by the community. Long Beach is a large, complex organization with 23 departments and 38 financial funds that represent the diverse city operations and their distinct funding sources.

A majority of the city’s funds are restricted by law for the purpose of the particular operation, such as providing for port operations, water and sewer services, refuse, gas utility, the airport, housing or public health services, among others. The entire $2.8 billion FY 20 Proposed Budget will be extensively reviewed by the City Council and community throughout August and will be adopted by the City Council in September.

The Proposed FY 20 budget addresses many critical issues that are of concern to Long Beach residents. A few are listed below.

Homelessness and Housing

Long Beach remains a leader in its systematic approach to addressing homelessness and has permanently housed more than 5,000 people since 2013. Over the past fiscal year, the city received nearly $27 million in grants, which are helping to support prevention services, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, homeless Veteran-specific services and the Multi-Service Center, among others. Additionally, the city continues its commitment to the production and preservation of affordable housing, which is essential to the health and vitality of Long Beach residents.

The FY 20 budget continues existing services and strengthens the city’s commitment to ending homelessness with the following:

  • $255,000 of General Fund one-time funds to support activities such as rapid response, cleanup and outreach efforts.
  • Increase of $25,000 in the General Fund for the ongoing costs of utilities at the Housing Navigation Center.
  • Continued work on important housing and homelessness policy items, including an inclusionary housing policy, implementation of the SAFE Parking program and the jobs program for those experiencing homelessness.
  • Construction of a 125-bed permanent homeless shelter in North Long Beach.
  • Preservation or construction of 650 affordable housing units serving low-income households, including homeless households.

Public Safety

Public safety continues to be one of the city’s highest priorities. The FY 20 budget maintains previously funded public safety services and makes the following additional investments:

  • The preservation of 121 public safety positions, funded by Measure A, that would have otherwise been reduced.
  • The addition of nine positions in the General Fund for the full implementation of the Body Worn Camera program and to provide the support needed to meet State mandates (SB 1421).
  • $1.4 million of Measure A one-time funds for camera acquisition, technology upgrades and officer trainings related to the Body Worn Camera program.
  • Two positions upgraded in the General Fund to permanently fund the Justice Lab, which deploys a multidisciplinary approach to respond to individuals with high-frequency contact with the justice system.
  • $100,000 of Measure A one-time funds for a jail mental health clinician to minimize recidivism and re-arrest rates.
  • $2.2 million of Measure A one-time funds for the Police Department’s Neighborhood Safe Streets Initiative, which uses community policing strategies to reduce violent crime and property crimes.
  • $800,000 of General Fund one-time funds and $1.4 million of Measure A one-time funds to support the cost of police academies.

Infrastructure

The Proposed FY 20 Capital Improvement Program totals $117.9 million from various funding sources (excluding the Harbor Department), including $19.5 million from Measure A funds to enhance the city’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure. Infrastructure investments in FY 20 include the following:

  • $54.6 million for mobility improvements, which include street repair and widening, traffic signal system expansion and upgrades, transit improvements, replacement parking and striping, neighborhood traffic management and bike lane improvements.
  • $2.0 million of Measure A funds for park infrastructure improvements, including continued work on Houghton Park Community Center, development of the Los Cerritos Wetlands and improvements to the Drake Chavez Greenbelt.
  • $2.6 million in Tidelands Capital Project improvements, including repairs to critical Tidelands facilities such as the Convention Center and the Naples seawalls.

Economic Development and the City’s Future

Long Beach will continue work on the city’s 10-year Economic Blueprint, including:

  • Implementing the Citywide Market for Hourly Labor Program to assist those with irregular work schedules.
  • Researching the creation of Opportunity Zones to promote development in underserved communities.
  • Expanding the Small Business Loan Program to serve more microbusinesses in underserved areas of the city.
  • Adding two positions in the General Fund to administer the Short-Term Rental program.
  • Adding $128,000 in the Development Services Fund for project planning technology improvements, including a web-based fee calculator and a forms submittal portal.
  • $136,000 of Development Services Fund one-time support for State building codes training for better Permit Center assistance.

A Vibrant Community

Long Beach is a full-service city that provides a broad spectrum of services and supports critical needs essential to the overall quality of life for residents. The Proposed FY 20 budget funds several items, which will increase and expand the inclusion of Long Beach’s diverse residents and their interests, such as:

  • The addition of a full-time position in the General Fund to coordinate the Language Access Program, and $80,000 of General Fund one-time funds to continue the program’s implementation.
  • $600,000 of General Fund one-time funds to support an accurate 2020 census count and efforts to redraw district boundaries.
  • The upgrade of a Physician Assistant to Public Health Physician to increase the capacity of Tuberculosis/HIV clinics.
  • The addition of an adoption coordinator and an administrative support position in the General Fund to manage Animal Care Services’ adoption and volunteer programs.
  • $100,000 of General Fund one-time funds to strengthen the mechanisms for securing of donations for Animal Care Services.
  • $1 million of General Fund one-time funds to support the seismic retrofit of Long Beach Community Hospital.
  • Special Advertising and Promotions Fund one-time support to promote arts, culture, tourism and communications:
    • $200,000 for preparation and support of the 2028 Summer Olympic Games.
    • $50,000 for POW! WOW! art murals.
    • $250,000 for wayfinding signage and historical plaques throughout the city.
  • $50,000 in matching funds to support the Arts Council for Long Beach.

Mayor’s Recommendations

In accordance with the City Charter, the city manager provided the mayor with his Proposed Budget in early July. The mayor has reviewed and supports the Proposed FY 20 Budget and has made additional recommendations, including:

  • $680,000 for the addition of a four-person Clean Team with dedicated vehicles to enhance city beautification and clean-up efforts, from Refuse Fund revenues.
  • $500,000 over two years to fund two positions and outreach efforts to address HIV and STD testing and outreach, from the Health Fund funds available.
  • $350,000 for a Promise Pass pilot program, in partnership with Long Beach Transit, to provide Long Beach College Promise students a transit pass for transportation to class and work, with costs shared equally between LB Transit and the city Proposition A transit funds.
  • $153,000 to complete the Daisy Lane Tree Project consisting of 24 trees and related electrical and infrastructure improvements, from projected FY 19 General Fund year-end surplus.
  • $125,000 to complete the digitization of the Press-Telegram archives so they will be available for free to residents and scholars, from Historic Preservation funds.
  • $100,000 for the second phase of the Bluff Park Historic Street Lamp project, from reallocating General City Building Refurbishment program budget in the Capital Projects Fund.
  • $100,000 for the planning and design of the city’s first fully-accessible ADA playground at El Dorado Park West, from reallocating General City Building Refurbishment program budget in the Capital Projects Fund.
  • $100,000 for staff support and increased administrative capacity of Sister Cities of Long Beach, Inc., from the Harbor Fund.

The City Council will hold the first of several budget hearings on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 4 p.m. to begin the budget review process. The Budget Oversight Committee will meet in August to review the budget and provide recommendations to the full City Council. City residents are invited to provide input by completing the Budget Priority Survey and/or attending community budget workshops held at various locations throughout the city during August.

For more information about the Proposed Budget, or to access the Community Budget Book (a budget-in-brief), the Budget Priority Survey, the City Manager’s Budget Presentation, Mayor Robert Garcia’s Budget Message and information about budget hearings and workshops, visit the Financial Management Department website at http://www.longbeach.gov/finance/city-budget-and-finances/budget/budget-....

Source: City of Long Beach

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