Measure A’s impact on infrastructure and public safety figured big in Mayor Robert Garcia and City Manager Pat West’s unveiling of the proposed FY17 budget today.
Presented at Fire Station 8 in Belmont Shore, the city drew largely upon the 69 percent of funds it allocated as a result of Measure A funding to frame the discussions around the budget.
As Garcia spoke, he was framed by an open doorway intended for the arrival and departure of fire engines, with a red fire truck directly behind him, symbolizing the priorities of the FY 17 General Fund.
“This budget moves the city forward,” said Garcia. “This budget is responsible. And, thanks to the support of the community, we’re able to do some pretty incredible things, like [investing] back into public safety, bring an engine back here, re-open South Division and make and rebuild our fire and police departments.”
The city council will consider the proposed budget tomorrow, August 2, as well as Garcia’s appointments for the Budget Oversight Committee. September 6 is the first date the city council can formally adopt the budget, and September 13 is the final day the city can adopt the budget.
In the budget, approximately $202.1 million of the General Fund (which is $430 million of the city’s total $2.6 billion budget) went toward public safety funding and infrastructure, largely thanks to the addition of funding from Measure A.
Measure A, the transactions and use tax that was voted into effect during the June primary, will increase the city’s sales tax by one percent for six years and decrease by half a percent for four years, before “sunsetting’ at the end of 10 years. The corresponding Measure B will create a rainy day fund that will set aside one percent of the revenue generate for future projects.
The 10 percent sales tax will give Long Beach one of the larger sales taxes in California, and will go into effect at the beginning of next year.
Meanwhile, the city also attempted to address unfunded liabilities in the form of employee pensions. It also dialed its estimated oil revenue down from $70 per barrel in FY 2015 to $35 per barrel in FY 2016.
The price for oil is what has placed the construction of such capital projects as the Belmont Pool onto shaky territory, as a portion of that funding is dependant on oil revenue.
The budget also included reductions in non-public safety departments, saving the city $1.7 million. The city also took time to increase marketing and promotions by roughly $1 million, but is still facing a budget shortfall of $4.8 million (down from the $5.9 million).
The city is in the process of negotiating with employees for contracts concerning FY17 and beyond, which will shape the state of unfunded liabilities the city is facing for years to come.
In the days leading to the formal adoption of the budget, the community is invited to attend a series of budget meetings, scheduled for throughout August. For information on the date and location of the meetings, click here.
For more information about the budget, a community budget book, the Budget Priority Survey, and information about budget hearings and workshops where residents can provide input, visit www.longbeach.gov/finance.