5 Takeaways from Mayor Garcia's "hard cuts" city budget proposal
What you need to know:
Long Beach city officials unveiled a $2.6 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year Monday afternoon, which called for significant cuts to nearly every municipal department, layoffs, and a reduction of city services due to an unprecedented economic strain brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
1. The Coronavirus put a hole in the city's budget
The city government spent over $100 million in response to the coronavirus pandemic and is facing a $32 million shortfall in 2021 fiscal year Mayor Garcia announced Monday, the only department that won't face any cuts would be the health department.
👉City Manager Tom Modica said the city has seen "huge revenue losses" in sales tax, hotel bed tax, and oil revenue, and the cost of services continues to rise, and Long Beach is facing a 20% unemployment rate.
👉The city suspended street sweeping and granted fee waivers to countless residents.
👉"We have business support through delays of fines and fees and new permitting processes to help our businesses as quickly get back on their feet when they can," said Tom Modica.
2. "Every single department in the city is going to be receiving cuts." said Mayor Garcia.
👉The city is pursuing $11 million in savings through a mixture of furloughs, re-negotiating with city employee unions, and the closure of city services for 1 day every two weeks.
🔸City Manager Tom Modica said there is a possibility that there could be a 10% loss of pay for non- sworn employees and 26 furlough days.
🔸$18.8 million in Department reductions across all departments, totaling 136 positions (77 filled and 59 vacant).
🔸Reductions in funding for landscaping and maintenance of city parks
🔸Elimination of community concerts.
🔸Reduction of funding for Museums of Art, Arts Council & Conventions Vistors Bureau
🔸Reduce legal services for outside real estate transactions
🔸Nine libraries would go from operating five days a week to three
3. Defunding the LBPD's budget, but only by $10.3 million
The draft budget recommends $10.3 million in cuts of the police department, roughly 5% of their overall budget.
👉59 sworn positions would be eliminated citywide 54 police officers and 5 firefighters. The 34 sworn police officers will be converted to 28 civilian positions, which would save the city $3.8 million.
👉$4.5 million of Measure A funding would be used to prevent any "additional cuts to police and fire" said Tom Modica.
👮♀️The redesign and restructuring of the Homeless Education and Response Team (HEART) model with a greater public health focus, using nurses or other positions from the Health Department instead of firefighters.
👩🚒LB Fire Department would face a $1.9 million cut in their 2021 budget, by delaying replacing fire trucks, eliminating 4 positions.
🚒The Homeless Education and Response Team (HEART) would be moved to the Health Department, and the Marine Saftey Officer would be eliminated and the reduction of lifeguards.
👮♂️Restructuring Jail operations, reducing 12 non-sworn positions.
4. Rate Hikes
City Manager Tom Modica proposed a combination of tax and fee increases, plus reallocation of funding from Measure A.
💰A 1% increase in Cannabis licensing fee and use $4.5 million in Measure A funding to maintain police and fire services.
💰 Increases in vehicle entry fees, yearly parking passes, and lot fees at El Dorado Park and beaches.
💰 Increase in ambulance rates, towing fees, youth sports registration fees, and a $1.3 million Gas Fund transfer increase.
💰 10.4% overall increase in gas rates and a “One-Time-Only” 1% tax increase on hotels.
5. City Investments
👉On Small Businesses
The proposed budget would provide $6.7 million in grants for small businesses and $1 million for businesses that were vandalized during the May 31st unrest.
$52 million is set aside to address the housing crisis that would retain the eviction moratorium and create a new fund to assist tenants with legal representation in housing court.\
👩🏾🤝🧑🏻On Community Support
$14.4 million in city funds would be directed towards support programs like Homeless shelters, Black health education programs, youth programs, and art grants.
✌🏾Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative
Racial reconciliation investment will include an investment of $3.2 million ($2.5 million in operating, and $702,000 in one-time), including:
Investments in youth, violence prevention, and mental health; library model changes; summer youth programming; equity training; increased language access; enhancements to the Office of Equity and other investments.