The City Council formally passed the next fiscal year’s budget Tuesday with minor changes to a document that remained largely the same as the one revealed last month, leaving some upset with the lack of cuts to the police department.
Hundreds of Long Beach city employees will be getting their vacation times cut and experience more furloughs as the city’s labor groups reached tentative agreements Thursday.
The city may be forced to use $47 million of its $59 million in reserves to balance this and next year’s budgets, leaving it with just $12 million set aside for emergencies, officials said this week.
The position, included in the 2021 fiscal year budget, would save money down the road, as well as animal lives, officials said.
The City Council has been under pressure to reinvest police funding into social services and neighborhood programs after months of protests.
The Long Beach Fire Department has proposed cutting a portion of its seasonal lifeguard detail that could see up to about seven fewer lifeguards on city beaches at any given time.
“We don’t know a lot about what the future is going to look like as it relates especially to COVID and economic recovery. I’ve been telling folks to understand the seriousness of what’s ahead of us and that it’s unprecedented.”
The proposed budget would cut over $10 million from the LBPD, but some say more must be done as cities reckon with nationwide calls to reform or defund police.
The reductions would affect nearly every city department—with the exception of the Health Department, which is funded mostly through grants.
The coronavirus health pandemic and ensuing economic slowdown, followed by weeks of civil unrest after the death of George Floyd, have created an extraordinary fiscal challenge for the city, officials said.