Councilmember Austin Invites Residents to Eighth District Community Budget Meeting

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Eighth District Councilmember Al Austin - Photo from Facebook

Eighth District Councilmember Al Austin – Photo from Facebook

On August 1, the Mayor and City Manager released the proposed City budget for Fiscal Year 2017.

One of the most important duties of the City Council is to review and approve the City’s budget each year, establishing the priorities and providing the funding for the many different City services.

The City Council has received held two budget hearings so far on the budget, receiving a general overview at the Council meeting on August 2, and discussing the specific budgets for our public safety departments on August 9.

I also participated in the first meeting of the Budget Oversight Committee on Tuesday to review this year’s proposed budget.

The City Council must vote on the budget by September 15, and it will go into effect on October 1, 2016, the start of the new fiscal year.

Below is a brief overview of this year’s proposed budget for the City of Long Beach.

If you are interested in learning more about the budget, asking questions and providing your input, please attend the Eighth District Community Budget Meeting on Monday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Expo Arts Center, located at 4321 Atlantic Avenue.

Click here for the flyer.

The FY 17 budget will be the first year where the City will receive additional tax revenues from Measure A, which was approved by Long Beach voters in June. The additional 1% sales tax will go into effect on January 1, 2017, so the City will only receive a partial fiscal year of revenue in 2017, anticipated to total about $35.6 million.  In future years, the City is expecting to receive about $47.7 million in new revenues from Measure A.

The City was facing a $4.8 million shortfall before balancing the FY 17 budget.  A portion of the Measure A funds ($3.16 million) is proposed to maintain services in the Police and Fire departments, and avoid any further cuts.  The remaining budget shortfall of about $1.7 million will be addressed through cuts spread out among the non-public safety city departments.

Click here for a larger image of the map.

Among the proposed strategic investments using one-time revenues in the FY 17 budget are:

  • $2.2 million in additional police overtime to impact violent crime and other criminal activities;
  • $176,000 to fund the Be SAFE Program in seven parks throughout the City, including Scherer Park, in the summer of 2017;
  • $203,000 to continue Sunday library hours at three neighborhood libraries, including the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library;
  • $100,000 to fund additional proactive homeless outreach; and
  • $150,000 to fund emergency tree response throughout the City’s park system.

The City Manager is proposing to use about $5 million in Measure A funds to restore Fire Engine 8 and the Police Department’s South Patrol Division, both of which were eliminated as part of budget cuts during the recession.

In addition, the City Manager is recommending to invest $27 million in infrastructure projects next year with Measure A dollars.  This includes additional repair of residential and arterial streets throughout the City, as well as improving public facilities and parks.

Among the specific Eighth District infrastructure projects that are proposed to be funded in FY 17 with Measure A funds are:

  • Fire Station 9 improvements:  $125,000
  • Expo Arts Center building improvements:  $200,000
  • Rancho Los Cerritos improvements:  $500,000
  • Jackson Park improvements:  $50,000
  • Los Cerritos Park playground:  $700,000

To view the complete Proposed FY 17 City Budget and the supporting documents, or to take the online budget priority survey, please visit the budget page on the City of Long Beach website.

I welcome your thoughts and input on the City’s budget.  In addition to attending the community budget meeting on August 15th or any of the upcoming City Council budget hearings, you may also email or call my office at (562) 570-6685.

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