Long Beach, CA – Today, August 2, 2022, the City of Long Beach unveiled its Proposed Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 23) Budget, with a special presentation on a five-year Measure A Infrastructure Investment Plan. The Proposed FY 23 Budget is $3.2 billion and continues prioritizing significant pandemic recovery support for residents and business; implements new forward-thinking initiatives that promote safety, health and quality of life; and makes strong investments in the City’s infrastructure.
“The proposed budget will accelerate our recovery from the pandemic and establishes a strong framework for our city’s long-term growth by investing in infrastructure, public safety, homeless services and a new Office of Climate Action,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.
Long Beach is a full-service city and prides itself on providing a variety of resources and services to the community, including the provision and improvement of affordable housing; support for economic development and business assistance; the overall continuum of public safety and emergency medical response; a comprehensive homelessness response; maintenance of safe, clean and accessible parks and facilities; and support for infrastructure and livability improvements. The Proposed FY 23 Budget maintains these services at the FY 22 level, and also makes substantial new investments into many service priority areas while utilizing resources in a strategic and fiscally prudent way that avoids adding to the General Fund structural shortfall previously projected at the start of the budget development process.
“The City’s annual budget serves as a roadmap for upholding critical public services while also addressing new community priorities that have surfaced in the wake of the pandemic and social justice reform,” said City Manager Tom Modica. “While we continue to experience shortfalls from the pandemic, the proposed budget is a testament to the City’s resiliency and plans for a more prosperous Long Beach for all.”
The new investments made in the Proposed FY 23 Budget take into consideration priorities from the Long Beach City Council as well as community feedback from residents received during the budget development process earlier this year. Select highlights are listed below with an even more comprehensive and detailed list in the full budget book available online.
Finding local solutions to the homelessness crisis continues to be a top priority for Long Beach, leveraging multiple City, County, State and Federal funding streams. The Budget supports existing services and recommends enhancements that further the City’s efforts to combat homelessness, including:
- Adding a third Restorative Engagement to Achieve Collective Health (REACH) team, providing enhanced after-hours and weekend service.
- Adding two counselor positions that will coordinate with the City’s call center to enhance communications with community members experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness and respond to those seeking help.
- A one-time utilization of Measure A funds of $2.1 million for a two-year outreach and clean-up initiative along local riverbeds.
The City is committed to providing a safe community for all Long Beach residents and continues to pursue innovations and collaborative approaches towards this goal. New items proposed in the Budget to support community safety include:
- A one-time utilization of $980,000 for the Community Crisis Response Program where an unarmed, first responder team can respond to mental health, substance abuse and quality of life related 9-1-1 calls.
- Creating a new Collaborative Response and Engagement (CRE) Bureau in the Police Department to facilitate innovative approaches focused on building meaningful community relationships and adding 20 new Police Officers to address root causes of crime through relationship-based community policing models (16 Bike Officers and 4 Quality of Life Officers).
- Structurally adding Measure A funds of $609,333 to provide the City match funding needed for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that, if awarded by FEMA, would help fund Fire Department Engine 17 operations.
Equity, Inclusion, Health and Quality of Life Support
The City is committed to fostering opportunities for optimal health, financial security and overall quality of life for all residents across the city. The Budget makes additional investments to foster a more inclusive and equitable Long Beach, including:
- Fully funding a position that will provide support for Commission on Women and Girls, Equity and Human Relations Commission, the Justice Fund, and continued support for the City’s Racial Equity and Reconciliation efforts.
- Increasing structural funding by $20,000 for increased interpretation and translation services through the City’s Language Access Program.
- A one-time utilization of Measure US funds of $511,620 for Community Based Grants and Incentives around Youth Development.
- Increasing structural funding by $400,000 and adding one-time funds of $400,000 to enhance the Long Beach Public Library’s material budget, supporting an inclusive and diverse library collection, for a total of $800,000.
- Enhancing Animal Care Services by upgrading a Public Health Associate to an Assistant Administrative Analyst, converting two Clerk I positions to three Clerk Typist I positions, and adding four General Assistant positions to enhance volunteer management, support field and licensing operations, and help implement the Compassion Saves Program.
Business Attraction, Support and Economic Development
Supporting Long Beach businesses and promoting economic development is a key part of the City’s strategy in growing its revenue base and continuing towards the vision of being a city of opportunity. The Budget proposes new investments to support the business community, including:
- Adding an Analyst position to serve as a business liaison and support business outreach efforts.
- Adding three Permit Technician positions to ensure full staffing at the Permit Center.
- Adding two Planner positions to staff the public counter and zoning telephone line to support plan reviews and customer service.
Arts, Culture and Tourism
The City has a strong history of supporting the promotion of arts, culture and tourism, and the Proposed FY 23 Budget maintains its strategic investments in this area, largely supported by the Special Advertising and Promotions Fund (SAP). Additionally, the Budget proposes items in non-SAP funds including:
- Allocating $2,142,891 in Measure B – Transient Occupancy Tax funding to support the City’s arts organizations and Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.
- Creating a new Pier H Bureau to oversee the operations of the Queen Mary and the development of the surrounding area.
- Adding an Events Coordinator to assist with the reopening of the Queen Mary.
- Adding an Analyst position for improved oversight of the operating contract for the Long Beach Convention Center.
Infrastructure, Maintenance and Critical Needs Investments
Investing and prioritizing infrastructure and maintenance needs remain a critical part of the City’s efforts to maximize current resources for ongoing future benefits, including:
- The City’s FY 23 Capital Improvement Program is $176.6 million, excluding Harbor.
- A new five-year infrastructure plan totaling $522 million, including $150 million from a new Measure A City Infrastructure Bond Program.
- Conversion of 3.5 armed Park Ranger positions to 12.3 budgeted unarmed positions as part of a new Park Safety Ambassador, Clean Restroom, and Safe Playground Initiative to increase safety, close restrooms at night citywide in 39 parks, and have direct connection to Police Officers when additional assistance is needed. The initiative will also provide $600,000 of new park bathroom infrastructure upgrades with automatic timed locking doors, funded by Measure A.
Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability
Stewarding the City’s environmental resources, combating the consequences of climate change, and supporting various local sustainability practices are all major priorities for the City. Several key investments proposed in the Budget reflect this commitment, including:
- Creating a new Office of Climate Action within the Office of the City Manager, adding four new positions for a total of 9.3 positions when combined with the current Office of Sustainability.
- Adding a Planner position to help implement the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.
- Allocating over $7 million in AB 32 Cap-and-Trade Program allocations to support projects that can demonstrate a GHG emissions reduction and with 82.6 percent invested in disadvantaged and/or low-income communities.
Recruitment, Retention and Strengthening Internal Administrative Services
Organizations around the country are confronting the Great Resignation, a phenomenon that describes record numbers of people leaving their jobs post the COVID-19 pandemic. The Proposed FY 23 Budget includes investments to help Long Beach support strong recruitment and retention efforts, including:
- Adding two Personnel Analyst positions and one Personnel Assistant position in the Civil Service Department to help improve efficiencies in the hiring process.
- Adding one Personnel Analyst position in the Human Resources Department to focus on classification and compensation.
- Adding structural funding of $104,317 for a Learning Management System for citywide staff development and training.
Unfunded Operational Needs and Major Liabilities Improvements
As part of FY 23 Base Budget updates, the City was able to address or make progress towards funding some of the City’s unfunded and underfunded short-term and long-term liabilities, including $300,000 to allow street tree trimming to stay on the existing six-year cycle; $617,467 to help address additional water required to maintain green, safe and healthy spaces in public places; $465,000 to achieve the level of weed abatement with alternative herbicides that was previously possible using glyphosate; and $499,258 for medical costs needed in the Animal Cares Services Bureau and the Compassion Saves Program.
Measure A Infrastructure Investment Plan
The Department of Public Works has developed a new proposed five-year Infrastructure Investment Plan for FY 23 through FY 27 totaling $522 million. The plan is comprised of $150 million of Measure A Bond dollars, $88 million of Measure A dollars set aside for infrastructure and $284 million of grant and external transportation funding estimates that are anticipated over the next five years.
Over the next five fiscal years, the proposed infrastructure plan earmarks $322.2 million for mobility improvements, $48.6 million for park improvements, $49.9 million for public facilities, $81.3 million for Right-of-Way/Water Quality/CAAP Improvements, $10.0 million set aside as a critical facilities and grant match funding reserve, and $9.8 million in other critical needs support. This historic Infrastructure Investment Plan totaling nearly $522 million will fund over 120 unique projects throughout the City. However, this infrastructure plan is not an exhaustive listing of all expected infrastructure funding from FY 23 through FY 27. Additional funding for FY 23 and beyond will be addressed annually during the City’s routine budgeting process. This infrastructure investment plan does not include other infrastructure funding sources such as Tidelands, AB-32 or other external sources anticipated coming from the Biden Administration’s infrastructure investment plan.
“Over the last five years, our Public Works teams have worked tirelessly to complete over 100 infrastructure projects which included new playgrounds, paved alleys and streets, improved community facilities and increased mobility access across the City,” said Public Works Director Eric Lopez. “I am looking forward to the next 120 projects that will not only transform the City, but also enhance the quality of life for our community for decades to come.”
The Long Beach Recovery Act
Heading into FY 23, the Long Beach Recovery Act (LB Recovery Act) now totals $271.3 million to support more than 80 programs through December 2024 in three main categories: Economic Recovery ($64.5 million), Healthy and Safe Community ($131.1 million) and Securing our City’s Future ($75.7 million). As of May 2022, $112 million has already been expended in support of these recovery efforts – utilizing $68.6 million for Healthy and Safe Community, $9.2 million for Economic Recovery, and $33.7 million towards Securing our City’s Future.
With updated projections and the proposed FY 23 budget items, the General Fund structural shortfall, excluding the impact of the Measure M litigation, remains at around $11.7 million, which is approximately the projected shortfall identified at the start of the budget development process. This structural shortfall, along with $4.9 million of proposed one-time uses, is proposed to be offset with one-time solutions including funds made available through the Long Beach Recovery Act, among others. The projected General Fund shortfall for FY 24 is currently estimated at $25.6 million, with $20.2 million of that made up of carry-over from FY 23.
In accordance with the City Charter, the City Manager provided the Mayor with his Proposed Budget in early July. The Mayor has reviewed and supports the Proposed FY 23 Budget and has made additional recommendations, including:
- Additional annual funding through Measure B at Tier II for the Cambodian American Cultural Center and Latino Cultural Center—providing these Cultural Centers with annual funding at the same level as the African American Cultural Center—as well as for the South Coast Chorale LGBT chorus. Additionally, requesting to put a moratorium on adding additional programs funded through Measure B for the next three years, at which time a review can be done to measure the effectiveness of Measure B investments.
- Formalize and expand the City’s program to waive or offset parking citations for people experiencing homelessness in order to help reduce barriers to housing and services.
- $50,000 towards the Long Beach Heritage Museum for preservation initiatives.
- $150,000 invested into the African American Cultural Center (AACC) for the purposes of establishing a museum and cultural exhibit highlighting the impact of Hip Hop in Long Beach and the United States; and an additional $250,000 for the restoration of the historic VIP Records sign, totaling in a $400,000 joint project between AACC and VIP Records.
- $300,000 over two years to fund the Long Beach Economic Partnership for business attraction and citywide marketing activities.
- $100,000 towards developing an LGBTQ+ cultural center and museum.
- $300,000 towards pre-K tuition assistance, technology and administration by partnering with the Long Beach Early Childhood Education partnership.
- $125,000 in structural funding for a full-time education officer position created to be responsible for supporting the Long Beach College Promise and other education initiatives undertaken by the City.
These items will be funded from the Long Beach Recovery Act Funds under Securing our City’s Future that is anticipated to be available at the end of FY 22 due to improved FY 22 projections. The structural addition ($125,000) can be covered with this one-time funding source for FY 23 but will need to be addressed with structural solutions in FY 24.
The City Council will hold the first of several budget hearings today, August 2, to begin the budget review process. The Budget Oversight Committee will also have their first of many meetings today to review the budget and provide recommendations to the full City Council. This Proposed Budget will go through review and ultimate approval by the City Council with any modifications as they deliberate and take additional input on the City’s spending plan for the next fiscal year.
Earlier this year, the City held three virtual community meetings to offer Long Beach residents an opportunity to provide feedback at an earlier phase of the FY 23 Budget development process. The City will host three additional virtual community meetings in August to educate community members of the Proposed FY 23 Budget and garner community feedback. City residents are invited to attend one of the three meetings listed below:
· Thursday, August 11, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
· Wednesday, August 17, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
· Monday, August 22, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
For more information and to register, visit longbeach.gov/fy23. Advanced registration is required in order to receive the link to the Zoom meeting. Interpretation services will be available. Those who require interpretation services may call 562.570.6465 at least 72 hours in advance of each meeting.
Community members also may provide input on the Proposed Budget by completing the Digital Budget Comment Card, available in English, Spanish, Khmer and Tagalog, at a Long Beach Public Library location with open computer labs.
More information about the Proposed Budget, including information about budget hearings and workshops, is available at longbeach.gov/budget.