LONG BEACH - A criticized county plan to charge a fee to clean up polluted waterways and help refill groundwater basins will be discussed - and perhaps endorsed - by the City Council on Tuesday.
A measure sponsored by Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal and Councilman Steve Neal asks that the city send a message of support to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors when a public hearing is held Jan. 15 on the proposed Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure.
School districts have opposed the plan, saying it could cost them about $14 million a year, adding another financial burden to schools struggling through years of state funding cuts, according to education officials.
The fees are based on the size of each property, its use and how much of the property is covered in hard surfaces that cause water runoff. The average single family home would be charged $54 annually, while commercial and industrial properties containing a higher amount of impervious surfaces would be charged $730. Typical "big box" stores or other large retailers would pay a fee of about $11,000 per year.
The Long Beach Unified Board of Education, the second largest district in L.A. County, voted unanimously last month to oppose the measure, which would cost the district $715,000. The county's largest district, Los Angeles Unified, would pay $4.8 million.
Lowenthal, a former LBUSD board member, was sympathetic to the objections from the school districts.
"I champion them for standing up for education (with) limited resources," she said.
At the same time, Lowenthal suggested, there may be room within the measure for the districts to apply for funding to see their investment "returned right back to the classroom."
Long Beach has the most at stake on water quality issues since it sits at the end of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers, according to Lowenthal.
"Unfortunately, on our own, we don't get the requisite resources to deal with the issue," she said.
Alcohol license protested
The Long Beach Police Department on Tuesday will recommend that the City Council protest an application to sell alcohol by Crystal Car Wash, 3525 E. Anaheim St.
The application for off-sale beer and wine would authorize Crystal Car Wash to sell all types of wine and malt beverages in original, sealed containers for drinking off the premises.
As basis for the protest, vice detectives noted that a residence is within 100 feet of the location, along with a church within 600 feet, the Living Word Church of God at 1216 Redondo Ave.
Police also said there were six calls for service at the address between Nov. 21, 2011, and Nov. 21 last year. The calls included a report of automobile theft and burglary.
According to a memorandum, the neighborhood is not considered a high-crime area, with 74 incidents reported. Crime in a district must be at least 171 incidents to qualify for a high-crime designation, the memo said.
The last day for the city to file a protest on the license application with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is Jan. 10.
The LBPD will also request approval Tuesday to accept various grants supporting gang enforcement, officer overtime and equipment purchases.
A $500,000 grant awarded by the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Program, known as CalGRIP, would help divert youths away from gang participation.
The two-year grant period begins Jan. 1, ends Dec. 31, 2014, and requires an in-kind match by Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network, the region's workforce development agency.
Pacific Gateway would provide its portion through existing programming such as the Hire-a-Youth program and Youth Career Academies, according to a memorandum.
Police will also ask for authorization to accept and spend two other state grants totaling $657,282 from the Citizens Option for Public Safety Program.
The funding would be used for overtime hours and to buy new equipment.
Staff Writer Kelly Puente contributed to this report.