YEA OR NAY: LONG BEACH PROPERTY BASED IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT VOTINGBy LBReport.com
For the first time, the assessment will include residential property owners, not just businesses, although the revenue from the assessment will continue to be administered by the privately operated non-profit Downtown Long Beach Associates. The vote would require taxpayers to spend approx. $220,000 annually for its share of downtown assessment.
The vote passed 7-0, with council members Suja Lowenthal, Gerrie Schipske and Robert Garcia legally recusing themselves. The action followed a public hearing in which speakers in favor of the assessment — including a number of downtown business owners — outnumbered opponents. After public testimony concluded, ballots from property owners were tallied in the City Clerk’s basement election center. The ballot tally process was open to the public, and was observed by LBReport.com.
Several months ago, the City Council voted to cast the City’s heavily weighted ballots as a large property owner in favor of the assessment. The action was strongly opposed at the time by Downtown Homeowners Unite, a grassroots downtown residential group that opposed the assessment and urged the Council to remain neutral so the wishes of residents would be reflected in the balloting.