Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia released this message on Saturday, Aug. 8, an update on the city’s status amid the novel coronavirus outbreak
This week, I released my budget recommendations for the next fiscal year. The total city budget is $2.6 billion with a general fund of approximately half a billion dollars and funds the operations of all our public safety services, one of the world’s largest ports, water and storm drains, gas and refuse, parks, libraries and many other services in a city of nearly half a million people and nearly as many visitors every year.
This year, like every year, we have presented a balanced budget.
It won’t surprise anyone that this year will also be fiscally challenging. The economic impact of the pandemic — the biggest public health crisis of our lifetime — has meant severely reduced revenue for the city. This crisis is unprecedented and there is simply no way to avoid some significant cuts. Addressing COVID-19 will require sacrifice and hard budget decisions to preserve the future of our city.
Our FY 21 budget reimagines ways in which public safety and healthcare services are delivered and continues making large investments to address infrastructure repair, homelessness and health to move Long Beach forward.
The City of Long Beach has already spent more than $100 million providing more than 123,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests, a field hospital, PPE, and contact tracing, as well as new shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Some of this will be reimbursed by FEMA, but the rest will affect our budget. We have been doing everything we can do draw down on funding from the state and our federal partners.
I led a coalition of mayors and cities to deliver $40.5 million from the state through CARES Act funding to support this work and Long Beach is receiving $13.5 million from the County of Los Angeles to help with COVID-19 diagnostic testing. These funding streams, as well as local, state, federal, and philanthropic sources have supported the biggest public health response in the city’s history.
Thanks to many years of hard work to balance our budget, our willingness to set aside rainy day funds, and fiscal responsibility, Long Beach has been able to scale up on public health to meet the needs of this moment, while still continuing to provide all other core services. My commitment is to do everything possible to maintain a high level of service, find ways to replace lost revenue, and restore cuts as soon as possible.
I want to thank our city staff, especially in our Financial Management Department, for their hard work on this budget under such difficult conditions. They, like others in the city, have also been working on our COVID-19 response and working with other government agencies and partners to secure reimbursements for city funds that have been expended on behalf of our residents.
COVID-19 is testing our city and our communities in ways that few challenges in our lifetime have before, but by making smart choices today, we can ensure the continued health of this city over the long-term. We must continue to stay safe, stay physically distanced, wash our hands, wear our face coverings, and follow our local health guidance. Long Beach is a strong city and we will persevere. My many thanks to all of our essential workers keeping us safe, fed, and going during this pandemic.