Chelsea IrizarryMay 15, 2018, 10:48 pmMay 16, 2018, 2:14 pm

Official: Previous year’s budget deficit contributed to Long Beach’s current fiscal strife

Long Beach city manager explains why residents face a major tax hike.

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LONG BEACH — The financial future for the City of Long Beach is still uncertain. A major tax hike looms as the city council considers a $95 million budget plan.

A second budget hearing was held Tuesday where residents showed growing frustration over the city's current financial status. The city council held the second public hearing to discuss the proposed budget plan that comes with a 12.3 percent-tax hike to cover a $4.5 million-deficit next year.

Acting City Manager Michael Tangney says reducing the tax increase means Long Beach residents would have to say goodbye to some city services, and city officials have not ruled out staffing cuts. Both ideas sparked outrage among members of the community. To reduce the tax hike, residents suggested city council members should take a pay cut and also offered suggestions like limiting garbage collection to one night.

“Last year's budget had a tremendous deficit, as well as when the council voted down the 2.1 bond last month; that exacerbated the fiscal strike we're facing,” Tangney said.

Adding to the city's financial dilemma, paying for retirement and separation payments to city employees, some of whom still work for the city.

“The problem is the city has created a system that is unsustainable, you cannot allow people to carry over sick days, vacation days,” Long Beach resident Mona Goodman.

Additionally, Tangney says the city has not been paid back for recovery operations from Superstorm Sandy.

The council is expected to vote on the budget by the end of the month. If a majority vote cannot be reached, the proposed budget will become set for the next fiscal year.

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