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Long Beach Council seeks restorations among cuts

PN14-Fireopenhouse2TRLONG BEACH, Calif. — Fewer police officers, higher fees and a reduced firefighting force are among the expected effects of Long Beach’s proposed, and vastly scaled down, city budget on which council members will put the final touches Tuesday. However, after last week’s meeting, some of those cuts will be restored, particularly in public safety and youth programs. The council will have a budget hearing at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a closed session at 4:30 p.m., the regular council meeting at 5 p.m. and a final budget hearing scheduled to begin no later than 7 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and can be viewed live on Charter Communications Channel 8, Verizon FiOS Channel 21 or online at www.longbeach.gov. Last week, the council approved 11 of 18 agenda items that are needed to complete passage of the 2010 fiscal year budget, which had to be cut back to eliminate a projected $38.3 million deficit that will reduce the general fund to $380 million. Under the City Charter, the council must approve the budget by Sept. 15, which is this Tuesday, or City Manager Pat West’s proposed budget will automatically go into effect Oct. 1. Furthermore at last week’s meeting, after much negotiating and compromising, two council factions came to an agreement on which of West’s proposed cuts to restore. The most high-profile change under the council’s plan is the restorationto full strength of Fire Station 1 downtown and Fire Station 18 in East Long Beach, as well as adding a sixth firefighter to Station 14’s proposed reduced “light force” crew. Under West’s proposed budget, Fire Station 1 and Fire Station 18 would share a fire engine, which would leave the downtown station understaffed at night and the Eastside station closed during the day. Continue reading Long Beach Council seeks restorations among cuts