Long Beach cuts clawback programs after receiving less federal funds • Long Beach Post News

When Long Beach leaders revealed the proposed budget for 2022 last week, it showed that the city had actually received about $ 18 million less in flexible federal funding than it had anticipated, which has leads to proposed cuts to programs designed to help restaurants and food insecure and homeless people.

While the Long Beach Rescue Act included nearly $ 250 million in federal and state aid, much of it was tied to specific uses like the city’s $ 51 million rent relief program and a grant from $ 15 million for Long Beach Airport.

Deputy city manager Linda Tatum said the federal government had not provided any explanation for the cuts.

“I think it’s important to recognize that we got less and got tired of being fair and equitable when we made cuts, Tatum said.

Any program that received more than $ 300,000 was cut by 10%, while those below that amount were left out. Programs with more than $ 2 million in funding have been cut by 20%.

The largest reductions came in funds earmarked to help businesses, with those funds slashed by almost $ 4.5 million. Relief fund to help restaurants, bars and brasseries in difficulty. gyms and other personal care businesses, as well as funds to help clean up the city, have all been slashed by $ 1 million each.

Other programs aimed at bridging the digital divide, meeting the basic needs of residents in need, and funding legal advice for tenants have seen smaller cuts ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The city originally planned to spend $ 83 million of federal funds to replenish its reserves, but will reduce that amount by $ 6.5 million. Most of that money, however, went into a $ 5 million security plan approved by city council Tuesday night that includes violence prevention programs and $ 75,000 for gun buybacks. , according to Tatum.

Officials still plan to balance this year’s budget with $ 30 million from the federal government and end vacation time for city workers.

Ciaran Gough, owner of 908 in East Long Beach and president of the Long Beach Restaurant Association, said it was unfair that programs to help residents and business owners had up to 20% off, but that the city’s programs have not experienced the same reductions.

“This is money that could have been spent on helping people, helping businesses,” Gough said, adding that it is the city’s job to make sure the budget is balanced and that it should not depend on federal funds to do it this year.

Gough said that aside from the funds that helped develop outdoor seating for restaurants, other helpers have been slow to reach business owners and many have figured out how to survive without the help of the financial aid.

He doesn’t know how much funding through the Restaurant Relief Fund, which offers grants up to $ 25,000, would help full-service restaurants, which he says suffered the most during the closures.

“We’ve probably lost over $ 2 million in sales at the very least,” Gough said.

Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the $ 125,000 cut in funds set aside to help attract visitors to the city and help the hospitality industry recover could be offset by deals with which his team was able to secure state tourism officials and other in-kind advertising opportunities.

“We understand the money was lacking and we are grateful for what we got, but we were able to multiply it and increase its impact,” said Goodling.

Goodling said he hopes if more help becomes available more money will flow into the tourism sector, saying the support is essential in getting people back to restaurants, hotels and attractions in Long Beach.

Tatum said there was hope that additional state and federal funding could be on the way, which would allow the city to potentially strengthen the city’s programs and help fill funding gaps in other areas.

Just this week, the state approved a $ 6 billion broadband infrastructure spending bill that could send funds to Long Beach to address digital divide and connectivity issues, and potentially help relocate. the $ 900,000 currently set aside in the city budget.

But trying to factor that money into the next budget could be tricky, Tatum said. The municipal council is required by law to pass the budget before the start date of October 1 of the following fiscal year.

“We don’t know the timeline, we don’t know the amount and we have a certain date to pass this budget,” Tatum said.

The council is currently due to take its first vote on budget approval at the end of August.

OK City Council plans to spend an expected windfall of $ 153 million in federal funds

Long Beach mayor offers $ 5 million to help restaurants, bars and breweries

City’s operating reserves could run close to zero as officials scramble to fill the $ 19.7 million budget hole

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