The city of Long Beach is hosting a series of community budget meetings starting this month to gather input from residents on how the city’s funding should be spent in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts in October.

Four in-person meetings and one virtual meeting will be held between Thursday, Jan. 19, and Monday, Feb. 6, according to a city memo published Monday. The in-person sessions are scheduled to be spread out across the city, with North, Central and East Long Beach, as well as Downtown, each hosting its own meeting.

Long Beach is currently projecting a budget deficit of around $40 million, but that could change in the coming months. Any deficit, though, could require service reductions or community improvement projects to be delayed or scaled down.

Something that could further impact the city’s finances is whether a new oil setback law goes into effect this year. City officials said in December that Senate Bill 1137, which established rules for how far away new oil production facilities are from things like schools and homes, could cost the city about $20 million in annual revenue.

The city said it plans to phase out oil production by 2035 but intends to continue to extract it to help pay the cost to abandon its wells. While the total cost of abandonment is estimated to be $1.2 billion, the city is responsible for about $154 million of that.

An attempt to block the bill through a statewide referendum is currently being processed by the California secretary of state’s office. If 623,212 of the 978,610 signatures turned in last month are verified, the law could be blocked from going into effect until 2024, when voters would be asked to weigh in.

To register for the Feb. 6 virtual meeting click here. Here is a full list of meetings being held by the city:

  • Jan. 19: Stephens Middle School, 1830 W. Columbia St., 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 23: El Dorado Park West Teen Center, 2800 N. Studebaker Road, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Jan. 25: Billie Jean King Main Library Room A, 200 W. Broadway, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 31: Michelle Obama Library Community Room, 5870 Atlantic Ave., 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 6: Virtual meeting, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Long Beach says new oil well setback law could have dramatic financial effect on city

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.