Long Beach commercial landlords and landowners are paying a new fee to the city to keep sidewalks clean and spruce up streetscapes to attract shoppers.
The city is imposing a charge of $24.50 per square yard of sidewalk in front of a business, following a resolution passed last month. The money collected will go to the city’s “clean team” to keep sidewalks and gutters in front of businesses clean and clear, officials said.
City officials are imposing the fee on landlords and landowners along Park Avenue and West Beech Street. The program is to be expanded to other streets and the city plans to eventually impose the fee on all commercial properties within the city limits.
The city’s sanitation department is offsetting the fee by decreasing quarterly trash collection and sanitation fees by 20 percent.
“It is the desire of the City to amend the Code, to keep these districts clean and free from litter and garbage, making them more welcoming to all shoppers patronizing our stores, restaurants and business establishments,” a city council resolution approved last month states.
The Long Beach Department of Public Works has added a business district enforcement streetscaping team to maintain sidewalk planters; hang plants and flowers; add bicycle racks and recycling and trash containers along the streets; and also to power wash sidewalks.
City economic development officials are seeking state and federal funding for additional street improvements, such as drainage infrastructure, new bike lanes and green space.
“This is quite a long time coming. We’ve heard a lot from residents and the council has been concerned about the cleanliness of our downtown,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said.
The proposal was drafted with the city Chamber of Commerce and is aimed at alleviating the burden from business owners to clean sidewalks, Public Works Commissioner Jim LaCarrubba said.
The city is hiring part-time employees to maintain business districts year-round in all business areas, to the east end, central businesses on Park Avenue and west end.
Several residents told the City Council last month that they want a cleaner city, but urged the city to increase fees and enforcement. The city has previously imposed fines and restrictions on properties in the past, but many businesses have not followed regulations, LaCarrubba said.