On Tuesday, I released my budget recommendations for fiscal year 2015. Adopting a responsible budget will be the most important thing we do over the next couple of months. I take my responsibility to protect the fiscal health of the City very seriously. The City Manager has prepared a sound budget that protects core city services, fully funds new police and fire academies, and sets aside surpluses this year to address looming shortfalls in coming years which are anticipated from significant increases in employee retirement costs.
Overall, I agree with the recommendations in the City Manager’s Budget for the coming year. I have, however, several recommendations for reallocations to address key issues and concerns.
My recommendations include:
Building our Reserves for the Future
In addition to the $3.7 million surplus that is proposed to be placed into our deficit reserve fund for CalPERS, I am proposing we place up to an additional $2 million to help with future pension costs. We need to start saving money today for difficult days ahead.
A New Economic & Property Development Department
I am proposing creating a new department that will oversee Economic Development in the city. The new department will work with our business improvement districts and oversee our surplus redevelopment properties.
The Technology and Innovation Department
We need to reform our current technology services department into a department that will make our city more efficient, transparent and effective. This newly named department will partner with the city’s schools and university to facilitate innovation across city government. A new community commission on technology will work with the department, the City Council and the Mayor to bring new ideas and community participation.
Supporting our Historic Neighborhoods
Historic neighborhoods make Long Beach unique and need to be preserved. During the past few years of budget reductions, the City was forced to eliminate the Historic Preservation Officer position. As part of this budget I am proposing a new Historic Preservation Planner to facilitate identifying and preserving our important historic sites.
Investing in Libraries and the Arts
Great libraries are the hallmarks of a vibrant, healthy city, and this budget will increase the funds available for books and other materials by 30%. The Arts Council will also receive additional funding to embark on a marketing campaign to create new private public partnerships.
For more information read the full Budget Message and Recommendations here.
The Budget is one of the most important things the Mayor and the City Council work on as it directly effects all aspects of the city for all our residents. With the addition of these recommendations I know that the city will be moving in the right direction.
Go Long Beach