Measure A Starts Second Year

By: 
Kirt Ramirez

As a new fiscal year started for the City of Long Beach this month, revenue from the voter-approved Measure A will cover costs for several projects and public safety.

The controversial sales tax increase passed in June 2016 and took effect this past January. This first year concluded. At the start of year two of Measure A, the city, through it’s public relations department, provided an update Oct. 3.

“Last fiscal year, we restored Fire Engine 8, Rescue 12, and reestablished the Police South Division and Police Academy staffing,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “Those efforts were of tremendous benefit to the public, reducing response times and making personnel more accessible.”

Garcia added that an alley management plan was developed along with slurry sealing of 142 lane miles of streets eligible for repairs in a historic infrastructure investment.

The city describes slurry sealing as a preventative road maintenance coat made of water, oil and sand, placed over streets already in good condition before they get heavy cracks, potholes or require serious repairs.

“In the 2018 budget we will be able to maintain and enhance the funding of public safety personnel, and invest in a maximized number of Police Academy recruits, safety camera modernization, and infrastructure work to streets, sidewalks, parks, libraries, and other public facilities – every neighborhood in Long Beach will see the benefit,” Garcia said.

Expected to raise $384 million over a ten year period, which is the length of the measure before it sunsets, Measure A starts as a one percent sales tax for the first six years and then goes to half a percent for four years.

Altogether, $26,311,739 will come from Measure A for infrastructure projects in fiscal year 18.

An allocated $14,333,239 will be spent on city streets in six categories:

  • Arterial streets will be designed and repaired with an estimated $6,902,739 budget and the “complete streets” policy will be implemented.
  • For citywide slurry seal projects, $2,670,000 is allocated.
  • $1.8 million is for alley repairs.
  • $2.7 million for sidewalk curb ramps
  • $210,500 for smart street light technology and
  • $50,000 for traffic signage replacement.

Regarding Parks and Recreation, $6,087,500 is set aside for five categories:

  • The historic Rancho Los Alamitos and Rancho Los Cerritos landmarks will receive $500,000 each for repairs and maintenance upgrades, which completes the Measure A commitment.
  • Houghton Park will receive an estimated $4 million for a new community center.
  • Fields at Admiral Kidd, Hudson and Veterans parks will be upgraded with $480,000.
  • Park irrigation systems throughout the city will be upgraded and replaced with $357,500.
  • Recreation buildings are allocated $250,000 for repairs.

Thirteen public facilities will be enhanced with $4,341,000 in four areas:

  • The Long Beach Convention Center will get $1 million for improvements, which completes the Measure A commitment.
  • City buildings, including Harte, Bach and Mark Twain libraries, will be refurbished with $2,536,000.
  • Fire facilities throughout Long Beach will be modernized with $605,000.
  • And $200,000 will go toward an update of the city’s Facility Condition Assessment Study.

Meanwhile, utilities will get $1,550,000 to fix and upgrade storm water pumps.

In addition, $20,697,721 will be invested in public safety.

A city press release states, “Measure A will fund the preservation of the restored Engine 8, Rescue 12, and reestablished Police South Division and Police Academy staffing. Funding will also cover a maximized number of Police Academy recruits, and provide funding for a Neighborhood Safe Streets Initiative and new upgraded safety camera technology. In total, Measure A restores and maintains 37 full-time public safety employees (since 2017), and preserves 53 sworn full time employees, to date.”

Fiscal Year One (2017) saw 34 Measure A infrastructure projects, including work on the Naples Bridge, police headquarters, fire station 10, Martin Luther King Jr. Park Community Center, Mac Arthur Park Community Center, Fire Station 7 and others.

Engine 8 and Rescue 12 were restored, improving response times. “Across the city, the response time for a paramedic rescue to arrive on scene has been reduced by 21 seconds,” according to the press release.

Thirty-eight new police officers were trained and graduated this past March with the help of Measure A. Sixty-three police recruits were chosen for the new Academy class from 1,800 applicants.

“The Police Department’s South Division in the Public Safety Building remains under construction and is expected to be completed this year. However, South Division staffing and operations were restored as of February 11, 2017. As of August 31, 2017, the South Division has responded to 42,564 calls for service,” according to the release.

kirt@beachcomber.news

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