Long Beach residents can expect to pay more for water service and public transportation as the cash-strapped city attempts to climb out of a deficit.
City bus fares will rise 50 cents in an attempt by the city to make the service more financially viable. City residents will also pay an average of $72 more per year for water and sewer service beginning next month.
The City Council approved the bus fare increase by a 3-2 vote on Tuesday night. The increase will take effect Aug. 1.
The council also voted, 4-1, to raise water rates. The new rates apply July 1, and the first bills arrive in October.
The moves are a necessary follow-up to the $88 million budget the city passed last month, said Councilman Len Torres. The budget includes a 7.9 percent tax increase and a plan to pay down the city’s $10.25 million deficit over 10 years.
“The city was saved” by the passage of the budget, Torres said.
The regular bus fare will rise from $1.50 per ride to $2 per ride. Rides to Point Lookout will increase from $2 to $2.50.
The service raised $182,299 in 2011, City Manager Jack Schnirman said. The new rates will allow the service to bring in $243,066 in 2012, he said.
The city’s bus fares have not increased since 2004, city officials said.
The Point Lookout bus is more expensive because it travels a greater distance than other buses, officials said.
“The city needs additional revenue to maintain operations,” Schnirman said.
Water rates will rise from an average of $82.80 to an average of $100.80 per quarter, officials said.
The rate hike came because the water and sewer funds have operated at a deficit for several years, city officials said.
The current water deficit is about $700,000, but it will be reduced to zero during the 2012-13 fiscal year because of the rate hikes, officials said.
Above: Long Beach City Hall