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Long Beach raises bus fare, water, sewer rates

Long Beach City Hall is on Park Avenue.

Long Beach City Hall is on Park Avenue. The police station and fire department are attached to the building. (June 21, 2011) (Credit: T.C. McCarthy)

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

Tags: Long Beach , city , rate , increases

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