Earlier today, Mayor Robert Garcia and City Manager Patrick H. West presented the City of Long Beach’s Proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget.
“In my four years as Mayor, this is our best budget yet. We increase support for public safety, make large investments to end street homelessness, fix more streets, and grow our reserves while maintaining our AA- credit rating,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.
“Long Beach continues to be recognized on a national level for our accomplishments including being named the most walkable city on the West Coast, one of the most bike friendly cities in the nation, having a parks system that has risen to Top 21 in the country, and being a leader in climate change,” said City Manager Patrick H. West. “Long Beach is certainly on the rise.”
The proposed FY 19 budget addresses many critical issues that are of concern to Long Beach residents. A few are listed below.
Currently, the City spends approximately $14 million on Homeless Services, Outreach and Response utilizing Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), State, City, and County funding including Measure H. The FY 19 budget continues existing services as well as implements enhancements for homelessness such as the addition of:
- Four Quality of Life police officers, two funded from Measure A and two along the Blue Line. There will now be six Quality of Life police officers with two dedicated to the Metro Blue Line.
- A Fire Department (FD) HEART team to benefit street outreach (two additional Firefighters) funded from Measure A. There will now be two HEART teams.
- A new Waste Operations Supervisor to support Clean Team cleanups.
- $255,000 of additional General Fund one-time funding for the Proactive Homeless Initiative.
Measure A plays a central role in maintaining public safety services, supporting 108 police officers and firefighters that would have otherwise not had funding. Past Measure A public safety restorations and enhancements included:
- Reestablishment of the South Police Division (8 sworn Police positions, 2 civilian positions).
- Fire Engine 8 (12 sworn Fire positions).
- Full reinstatement of Police Academy operations (9 sworn Police positions).
- Paramedic Rescue 12 (6 sworn Fire positions).
The FY 19 proposed budget allocates Measure A and other funds for new public safety services and resources, which include:
- $1.9 million in one-time funding in the Police Department (PD) for the Neighborhood Safe Streets Initiative.
- $3 million in one-time funding for second Police and Fire Academies in FY 19.
- $600,000 in one-time funding for safety camera network modernization and expansion.
- Transfer of 27 Long Beach Airport (LGB) Special Services Officers to PD to integrate LGB security operations under the oversight of PD.
- $2 million in one-time funding for PD Records Management System upgrade.
- $100,000 in one-time funding for jail clinician services.
- A pilot program creating the Community Services Officer classification in PD to respond to non-emergency calls.
Infrastructure and Other Critical Needs
The FY 19 budget also proposes a robust $120.8 million Capital Improvement Program (CIP) bolstered by Measure A funds, which invests in mobility, public facilities, parks and recreation, beaches and waterways, utilities, and the Long Beach Airport. Additionally, other critical needs investments will include:
- $8.3 million for street repairs, alley improvements, and sidewalk and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) curb cut improvements.
- $1 million for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM) landscape contract to maintain current scope of services.
- $1.2 million in one-time General Fund funding for PRM’s water to be more in line with plant watering requirements and to combat safety issues such as urban tree failures.
- $1 million in one-time Tidelands Fund funding for in-water storm debris collection system.
Investment in Economic Development
The FY 19 proposed budget includes additional of eight positions in the Development Services Department that are funded by permit revenue from increased development activity and will provide specialized services for new high-rise development applications, improve Permit Counter wait times, improve public communications on land use issues, and meet increased demand for inspections.
Efficiency and Service Delivery Improvements
The FY 19 proposed budget includes but is not limited to the following innovative approaches to achieve greater operational efficiencies and service delivery:
- Seven-Day library coverage citywide: The Department of Library Services will be shifting its daily schedule for library branches so that on any given day of the seven-day week, library branches across the City are open.
- Establish a Projects Management Bureau in Public Works.
- Establish a Community Engagement and Partnership Bureau in PRM.
- Add one-time General Fund funding for an Animal Adoption pilot program in PRM.
- Add one-time General Fund funding for City Prosecutor to prosecute code enforcement violations.
Investments in Arts and Culture
The FY 19 proposed budget increases the City’s contribution to the Long Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Museum of Art, and the Long Beach Arts Council. The budget also provides one-time funding for the POW! WOW! Mural Program, gateway and wayfinding signage, and one Beach Street event.
Social Equity and Needs
The proposed FY 19 budget also includes the following social equity investments:
- Funding the Office of Equity through a permanent position funded from the General Fund.
- $192,000 in one-time funding to continue the Be S.A.F.E. program.
- $200,000 in one-time funding to support programs or activities for youth well-being through a Participatory Budgeting process.
- $80,000 in one-time funding for the Language Access Plan program.
Mayor Garcia’s Budget recommendations include:
- Asking the City Manager to identify new revenue to restore Engine 17 on the East Side, which includes 12 new firefighter positions, and to restore the police department’s bike patrol by adding a Community Rapid Response Bike Team of six new police officer positions this year.
- Allocating $250,000 to fully fund the Justice Fund to support immigrants in the community who need legal assistance, and double the budget for Language Access services to $160,000.
- Allocating $200,000 for a new effort with the City Prosecutor to expunge low-level marijuana misdemeanors from peoples’ records to help them reenter the workforce.
- Working with property owners and community to combat poor living conditions by strengthening the City’s proactive residential inspection program, preventing properties from falling into disrepair and fixing slum properties.
- Providing $150,000 over three years to support staffing for Partners of Parks, $100,000 in funding for City staff development and training on LGBTQ issues and a community anti-bullying program, and $150,000 to support MOLAA’s facilities master-plan efforts from health care savings and the SAP Fund.
- The allocation of Measure A funds between FY 19 and FY 23 for:
- Infrastructure ($13.4 million) improvements to streets sidewalks, parks, playgrounds, animal care upgrades, and facilities as well as critical infrastructure reserve and cost revenue variances.
- Police ($29.3 million) resources such as communication technology infrastructure upgrades, police academy facility rebuild, a second police academy, and body-worn cameras.
- Fire ($12.5 million) resources including communication technology infrastructure upgrades, fire academy rebuild, a HEART team vehicle, and a second fire academy.
The City Council will begin the budget review process at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 7. The Budget Oversight Committee will meet in August to review the budget and provide recommendations to the full City Council. City residents will also have the opportunity to provide input through the Budget Priority Survey as well as participate in budget hearing workshops.
For more information about the budget, or to access the Community Budget Book, the Budget Priority Survey, the City Manager’s Budget Presentation, Mayor Robert Garcia’s Budget Message and information about budget hearings and workshops where residents can provide input, those interested can visit the Financial Management Department website athttp://www.longbeach.gov/finance/city-budget-and-finances/budget/budget-information/.