Friday, June 5, 2015

POLB Adopts $829 Million Budget

By Mark Edward Nero

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on June 1 approved an $829 million budget for its upcoming fiscal year, nearly $30 million less than for FY 2015.

The budget, expected to be presented to the Long Beach City Council for its consideration in the coming weeks, designates $555 million for capital investments at the Port of Long Beach, including a major terminal redevelopment and bridge replacement projects.

The $555 million is a $24 million downgrade from FY 2015s $579 million.

However, for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2015, the budget anticipates a 6.1 percent increase in operating revenue over the current fiscal years income. The budget also includes the anticipated transfer of $17.74 million to the City of Long Beachs Tidelands Operating Fund, which is used for beachfront improvements in Long Beach.

The Harbor Departments spending plan focuses on strengthening the ports competitiveness in order to attract more business; furthering its role as an environmental steward; and continuing to improve safety and security.

The biggest pieces of the capital improvement budget are the ongoing Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project and the Middle Harbor terminal redevelopment project, which are each expected to cost more than $1 billion over several years to complete. Other improvements include sewer and street projects, dredging and rail improvements.

The budget also includes funds for planning activities for the ports Energy Island; a concept of enhancing energy security and sustainability, and for ongoing improvements as part of the critical supply chain optimization efforts to boost efficiency at the San Pedro Bay ports.