As city leaders prepare to unveil the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, a new series of community meetings has been announced where Long Beach residents can weigh in on how hundreds of millions will be spent.
Six meetings will be held at parks, libraries and high schools across the city starting Aug. 9, according to a city memo. The city held meetings in January to allow residents to give early feedback on the budget before it was compiled and released, something that’s expected to happen this month.
What was once expected to be a budget deficit in the $40 million range has shrunk substantially as portions of the city’s economy continue to outperform expectations. In March, city officials said the figure had dropped to about $6 million.
Combined with an anticipated surplus of about $20 million from the current year, there could be a lot more money than originally thought to be spent on city services, infrastructure and projects.
However, multiple city departments are dealing with staff shortages, and some, like the Long Beach Police Department and Public Works, are offering incentives to bring on more officers and trash truck operators.
City officials are also finalizing a deal with the city’s largest employee union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents over 2,800 workers. In the last budget cycle, IAM and its members successfully pushed for a $5.8 million employee retention fund.
Community members said earlier this year during public meetings and through a city survey that they prioritized things like affordable housing production, addressing homelessness, public safety and climate resiliency. How that feedback will be reflected in the budget could be revealed in the coming weeks as city management and the mayor unveil their proposed budgets.
The memo indicated that the City Council’s Budget Oversight Committee would begin holding budget meetings July 18, which will kick off about six weeks of committee and council hearings about the budget before it’s potentially approved in early September.
The last day the council has to adopt the budget is Sept. 12. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Community meetings will begin Aug. 9 at Recreation Park in East Long Beach and conclude with two virtual meetings Aug. 24.
Here is a full list of upcoming community budget meetings. All meetings are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted:
- Wednesday, Aug. 9: Recreation Park Community Center, 4900 E. Seventh St.
- Monday, Aug. 14: Cabrillo High School, 2198 Monitor Ave.
- Thursday, Aug. 17: Mark Twain Library Community Room, 1401 E. Anaheim St.
- Monday, Aug. 21: Jordan High School Community Room, 6500 Atlantic Ave.
- Thursday, Aug. 24: Virtual meeting at 1 p.m and another virtual meeting at 6 p.m.