Mayor Robert Garcia and City Manager Patrick H. West today presented the City of Long Beach’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, along with the Mayor’s budget recommendations. The $2.7 billion budget features a $630,000 surplus; maintains City services; continues to emphasize the public safety continuum of services and provides investments in parks, beaches, streets and sidewalks.
“I’m pleased to be able to present a balanced budget with a surplus to the City Council, and to make recommendations that reflect our priorities and values as a City, including support for businesses, public safety, and education,” said Mayor Garcia. “The City Manager, Department Heads, City Council and every staff person in the City should be applauded for prudently managing our funds to turn a projected deficit, when the fiscal year began, into a surplus.”
The discretionary portion of the budget – the General Fund – accounts for only 15 percent ($412 million) of the Proposed Budget, but provides much of the resources for critical City services, including Police patrol/investigations, Fire responses, parks, streets and library services. The General Fund primarily relies on general tax revenue, which have increased more than previously forecasted, leading to the surplus.
“This Proposed Budget maintains a strong focus on economic development and business attraction, reflects the City’s improved economy and prepares for the future,” said Mr. West. “This budget funds services in a proportionate manner across a wide range of services, and gives top priority to public safety.”
The budget proposes preservation of services; enhanced focus on critical infrastructure; funding the City’s prior year commitments; funding the City’s current and future commitments; investments in efficiency improvements; focus on economic development; and innovation and efficiencies.
Among Mayor Garcia’s recommendations are:
• Support for $2.2 million in one-time funds for preventing and responding to violent crimes;
• Support for $150,000 in one-time funding for community engagement strategies, de-escalation techniques, and other training for police;
• $100,000 for crime analysis support;
• $186,000 for the Be S.A.F.E youth program;
• Support for $200,000 for a small business incentive program;
• Support for implementation of the Open Counter software to improve efficiency in business permitting and licensing;
• $50,000 toward creation of an Innovation Hub downtown;
• Creation of an Early Childhood Education coordinator position;
• A pilot program to open three libraries on Sundays;
• Support for $950,000 to reroute street sweeping to improve parking;
• Support for $150,000 in one-time funds for the Long Beach Museum of Art; and
• $50,000 in matching funds for the Arts Council.
Despite a strong drop in the price of oil, which provides significant revenues to Long Beach, the City has maintained its balanced budget and funded previous and future commitments this year, due to fiscal discipline and the aggressive pursuit of grants and other monies from the State and Federal governments.
“This budget is really about making our city more livable,” said Mayor Garcia. “Whether it’s expanding our crime analysis resources so we can combat gang violence, opening some libraries for additional hours, or making parking easier for residents, everything we are doing is designed to improve the quality of life for everyone in Long Beach.”
The City Council will begin the process of reviewing the budget at the next meeting, which is scheduled for August 4. Additionally, the Budget Oversight Committee will also meet in August to review the budget and provide recommendations to the full City Council.
For more information about the budget, including the Budget Challenge for residents, a community budget book, the Mayor’s budget recommendations and details about budget hearings and workshops where residents can provide input, visit www.longbeach.gov