After weeks of hard work on a proposal to invest $18.4 million of city oil revenue, the Council last night supported our plan to make historic investments in public safety, technology, infrastructure, parks, and libraries.
Working on the principle that one-time revenues should be used for one-time expenses, we looked for a responsible way to put this money to work for the good of the City over the long term, and that meant investing in not only critical needs, but also looking towards the future.
First and foremost, we put aside $2 million into an emergency reserve account to ensure that we continue to grow a robust city reserve. We funded $8 million for public safety, and over $7 million for additional infrastructure, streets, sidewalks and park maintenance. In addition, we invested $550,000 for our library system.
Moreover, we made a historic $1.5 million investment in technology, including purchasing security cameras for high crime locations, new patrol car computers, new tablet computers and wi-fi for our libraries, updating technology in the City Prosecutor's office, and a new city website that will include the latest features for residents, businesses and visitors.
I am grateful to Mayor Bob Foster and to City Staff for all their hard work during the difficult budget process, and in particular to my proposal cosponsors, Councilmembers Gary DeLong, Patrick O'Donnell, and Dee Andrews.
The challenging economy means we still have hard work ahead of us, but we’ve managed to continue making progress even in these difficult times. Let's keep winning and investing in the future.
The full list of investments we've made in our City is below for your information. To read today's Press-Telegram story, click here.
Go Long Beach!
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Emergency Reserve: $2 million total
The $2 million will assist with increasing the size of our emergency reserve fund.
Budget Requirement: $1 million total
For closing a $1 million deficit in the 2012 budget.
Public Safety Needs: $7.95 million total
$2.5 million to cover one-time FY2012 costs associated with the Police Officers agreement
$1.0 million is reserved to cover potential costs associated with a Firefighters pension reform agreement.
$2.2 million police overtime restoration is critical to address immediate public safety demands, including the pending release of State prisoners into Long Beach and Los Angeles County.
$1 million start-up costs for the construction of a tunnel to safely transport prisoners from the City's jail to the new Courthouse. (The estimated cost to safely transport prisoners annually without the tunnel is $600,000 a year.)
$650,000 for security cameras and police car computer technology. The cameras would be placed in our top crime locations and parks throughout the city. These cameras would also be available to monitor neighborhoods were our High Schools are located.
$350,000 for the Shotspotter gunshot detection system, an invaluable tool to assist the Police Department in responding to gun incidents and other types of crime.
$150,000 for the AVL system, which provides the real-time location of emergency vehicles. The information is fed directly to the CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatch) system, which then selects the closest appropriate unit and dispatches them to an emergency. The system can help to improve response times.
$100,000 for Police Academy Capital Improvements
This would cover the cost to replace the last two sewage septic tanks in the entire city. The two tanks at the Police Academy have become a financial liability, costing the city $1,000 every few weeks to clear them. They are on the verge of breaking down.
Parks, Libraries, Infrastructure, Technology Recommendations: $7.45 million total
$4.5 million will be divided evenly 9 ways for infrastructure repairs in all Council Districts. The remainder will be deposited in City Manager Infrastructure account to make improvements to streets, sidewalks, parks, and other public works projects.
$1 million increase the sidewalk repair fund by $1 million in the 2012 budget.
$565,000 will enable the Parks & Recreation Department to address trees that have the greatest needs in our local parks for trimming. In addition, the fund can be used for athletic field maintenance and other critical needs at our parks.
$150,000 directed to Technology Services will enable the city to upgrade its content management system and website. The current CMS system has not been updated in 7 years and is greatly outdated. Upgrading the current CMS system and website will provide quicker and more effective online services for residents, business and visitors.
$150,000 will give Neighborhood Services the ability to fund mini-projects like utility box art, neighborhood signage, murals and mini-facade grants for local businesses.
$300,000 will support Library programs including children’s programs and literacy efforts, therefore eliminating the need to convert three branch libraries to reading rooms.
$200,000 will enable Library Services to purchase tablet computers to replace existing aging computers, and to install Wi-Fi in all Long Beach Libraries.
$50,000 for purchasing new library books and supplies.
$250,000 for our Public Works Department to address a portion of its backlog of trees that need to be trimmed citywide.
Another $35,000 will go to the City Prosecutor to develop a paperless office system.