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Long Beach was no different than many cities this last decade, experiencing the worst economic decline since the Great Depression. What was different was the resolve of Mayor Foster and a responsible majority of Council Members committed to reaching a structurally balanced budget.
I am proud to say our commitment to fiscal discipline is paying off.
At their annual budget unveiling today, Mayor Foster and City Manager Pat West announced that for the first time in a decade, Long Beach will experience a budget surplus of $3.5 million in Fiscal Year 2014. In addition, if the next Mayor and City Council remain disciplined about spending, there will be a structurally balanced budget for at least the next three years. The budget proposal includes funding for back-to-back police and fire academies (a first in many years) and structurally restores some recreational, neighborhood services and police program staffing.
However, this good news didn't come easy.
As a member of the Budget Oversight Committee, I experienced first hand the difficult choices made over the course of 7 years to preserve our core services for residents and businesses. In all, we cut over $134 million and eliminated 786 positions from our General Fund budget. We negotiated increases in the pension contributions made by Police, Fire, IAM and other employee unions, saving the City a minimum of $125 million to the General Fund, and $215 million for all funds through 2023.
Despite these challenges, Mayor Foster touched on the efficiencies and successes we have had over the last seven years, including:
Again, I want to acknowledge Mayor Foster and my council colleagues, past and present, for their commitment to responsible fiscal planning. In addition, I want to thank our family of employees for their partnership and dedication to a better Long Beach. We should also be very proud to have such a talented executive management team in the City Manager and his department directors. Finally, my thanks to residents and businesses for your understanding, input and collaboration during these difficult years. It made a difference, and together we're moving Long Beach forward.
- Violent crimes reduced to a 40-year low in 2012.
- Improved water quality at our beaches, lagoons and marinas.
- Significant investments in our streets and sidewalks through multiple funding sources and one-time funds.
- New Airport concourse and parking structure.
- Expansion of our bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
- Consolidation of all parking operations.
- Provision of more online services.
- Elimination of two departments due to consolidations.
To view the Mayor and City Manager's budget reports, Power Point presentation and Community Preview of the Proposed FY 14 Budget, please click here.
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