City Auditor Laura Doud. File photo.
Since Proposition H was approved by voters in 2006 and implemented in 2007, Long Beach has seen $33 million spent on public safety initiatives, including funding for more first responders, equipment and training, according to a city auditor’s impact report released today.
After finding that Long Beach had a low oil production tax (OPT) rate compared to surrounding cities, City Auditor Laura Doud recommended that it be increased to bring in more revenue to support public safety operations, according to officials.
This led to Proposition H, which passed with 70 percent of voters in favor. Since its inception the ballot initiative has continued to raise an average of $3.3 million in revenue annually for the city’s police and fire departments.
“I am very pleased that Long Beach community groups and voters joined together to pass a measure that has provided critical dollars to fund additional first responders and public safety programs that have protected Long Beach citizens over the past ten years at no cost to the taxpayers,” said City Auditor Laura Doud in a statement. “Over the past decade Long Beach has faced budget challenges and constraints, and I want to thank the public for their confidence in voting in favor of this measure as it has and will continue to be an on-going source of revenue for public safety.”
Doud found that 87 percent of the Prop. H funds have been used to staff officer and firefighter positions, according to a release from her office.
Money has also been used to help launch programs like the Long Beach Police Department’s Crime Impact Motor Team which uses motorcycle officers “to provide more speed and mobility in responding to priority calls for service, reducing violent and gang related crime in high impact areas.”
The team responded to more than 47,500 community safety incidents, including 29,500 emergency calls and resulting in nearly 17,000 citations and over 1,000 arrests, from 2012 to 2016, according to the report.
Money has also gone to operational and personnel needs for Fire Station 17 and Truck 17 near the city’s Traffic Circle area and to fund constant staffing of two daily firefighters and one daily fire engineer at the station. Truck 17 has responded to more than 14,000 incidents, including over 11,000 emergency medical calls and 2,000 fires from 2012 to 2016.
The proposition has also helped fund a new fire truck at Fire Station 14 which responded to over 4,200 emergency calls, the re-purposing of the Police East Patrol Division substation which serves 46 percent of the city, as well as Fire and Police Academy sessions graduating 33 new firefighters and 112 new police officers.
“Proposition H has provided crucial financial support to the City of Long Beach’s emergency response and homeless outreach efforts, improving public safety for all our residents,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “I want to thank City Auditor Laura Doud for championing this proposal.”