• Matt Esnayra

Garcia's 2023 budget expands the LBPD, homeless assistance & millions in infrastructure projects

Screengrab from LBTV on Youtube

Mayor Robert Garcia proposred a $3.2 billion budget that would add more police, spend millions on infrastructure projects, assist the homeless, and combat climate change.

Why it matters: This is Garcia’s last budgetary reveal, as he is widely favored to win in the California 42 congressional district race, plus leaving at a time as Long Beach faces a $20 million-plus shortfall.

On infrastructure:

Over the next five years, Long Beach would invest $522 million in infrastructure projects.

  • The city would spend $322 million on mobility improvements, $48.6 million on city parks, $49.9 million on public facilities, $81.3 million on Right-of-Way/Water Quality/CAAP Improvements, and $10 million on critical facilities, and $9.8 million on other support.

  • The funding would go to cleaning services for public restrooms and improving playgrounds at all 39 parks.

  • $176.6 million to the City’s Capital Improvement Program.

  • A $600,000 investment to update park bathrooms with mechanically locked doors.

  • Funds are set aside for various hires within the Civil Service Department, Human Resources Department, and structural funding of $104,317 for a Learning Management System.

A curiously small section of the budget goes to typical routine maintenance of the city:
  • $300,000 for tree trimming.

  • $617,467 to support green public spaces.

  • $465,000 to “the level of weed abatement with alternative herbicides that was previously possible using glyphosate.”

  • $499,258 to the Animal Cares Services Bureau and the Compassion Saves Program.

Arts, Culture, and Tourism:

$2.1 million would be allocated to funding various arts organizations and the Long Beach Convention.

  • The budget would earmark funds for creating the new Pier H Bureau to manage the Queen Mary, hiring an events planner for the dormant ship, and adding an analyst for the management of the Long Beach Convention Center.

On Climate Change:

A portion of the budget deals with the effects of climate change by constructing an Office of Climate Action, adding positions to the Office of Sustainability, and employing a planner to execute the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

  • The plan also funds $7 million for projects “that can demonstrate a GHG emissions reduction and with 82.6 percent invested in disadvantaged and/or low-income communities.”

On Homelessness:

The homeless population in Long Beach skyrocketed to 62%, according to findings from the 2022 Homeless Point in Time Count, and the mayor’s proposed budget adds more funding for a third Restorative Engagement to Achieve Collective Health (REACH) team.

  • The budget would pay for two counselor positions at Long Beach’s call center.

  • Officials will spend $2.1 million for two years of homeless outreach and a riverbed clean-up.

On Policing & Public Safety:

For the past few years, Long Beach area activists have been calling on the city to defund the LBPD; however, under Garcia’s proposals, the city would add 20 new police officers.

  • $980,000 goes to the Community Crisis Response Program.

  • Of the new twenty police hires, 16 would become bicycle cops.

  • Creating a Collaborative Response and Engagement Bureau within the Long Beach Police Department.

  • $609,333 to provide the City match funding needed for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that, if awarded by FEMA, would help fund Fire Department Engine 17 operations.

  • The city would convert three Park Ranger positions into 12 Park Safety Ambassadors that have a direct connection to the Long Beach Police Department.

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