- Terelle Jerricks
LONG BEACH — Mayor Bob Foster recently released his fiscal year 2013 budget. The Long Beach charter requires the mayor to give his budget by Aug. 1 so that the Long Beach City Council can pass a balanced budget not later than Sept. 15.
District 5 Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske expressed her concerns about the proposed cuts to services in the city.
“…for the second year in a row, there is an announced oil surplus (in excess of $17 million),” Shipske wrote in her e-newsletter.
“Yet, reductions in services in police, fire, library and recreation services are being proposed. There is also a list of items on which the ‘surplus’ is to be spent as outlined in the Mayor’s proposals.
“This approach doesn’t make sense. If I have debts, the very first thing I must do when I get more money than I budgeted, is to pay those debts – not to go off and buy a new car.”
For the past two years, the city has cut services such as police, fire, recreation and library, but spent money on other projects.
“Why wasn’t the ‘surplus’ of last year used to prevent a deficit this year?” asked Schipske, rhetorically.
Some of the proposed budget cuts include the elimination of after school and youth sports programs, except in high density, high crime areas. Park ranger patrol services to three days only at El Dorado Regional Park.
Some branch libraries are becoming self-service locations with minimal staff, laying off 17 positions. Also about $1 million would be cut for sidewalk repairs.
Details: Mayor’s Proposed Cuts and Budget Message and Community Budget Book. A meeting has been scheduled to discuss the budget, from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 20, at the Long Beach Water Treatment Plan. Budget documents are available at www.longbeach.gov/budgetchallenge.