USA: Board OKs USD 942 Million Port of Long Beach Budget
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday approved a $942 million budget for fiscal year 2013, a 12 percent increase over the past year, reflecting the Port’s growing investment in its facilities and infrastructure modernization.
The new budget includes $720 million in capital spending, a 14 percent increase over fiscal year 2012, from October 1 through September 30. The growth in capital investment comes mainly from two large construction projects that have already begun at the Port: the Middle Harbor Terminal Project and preliminary work for the replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge.
The new budget reflects the Port’s strategy to boost business by investing aggressively in environmental and capital improvement projects while keeping operating costs in check. The 2013 budget includes $104 million in environmental infrastructure projects and other programs aimed at improving air and water quality, and cleaning soil and undersea sediments. Because of the current weakness in global trade, the spending plan also reduces non-staff related operating costs by 5 percent.
Port Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle said that while the overall Port budget has increased because of infrastructure investments; it also reflects a prudent, fiscally responsible approach. He said it is imperative that the Port operate cost efficiently while investing heavily in the future.
“We are consciously changing our mindset to one of frugality,” Lytle said. “We are trying to be smarter about all different aspects of what we do in our spending and our budget.”
Over the next decade, the Port plans to spend $4.4 billion to modernize its facilities, including Middle Harbor, which will be one of the greenest and most technologically advanced container terminals in the world. The projects will add thousands of construction jobs and tens of thousands of permanent jobs to Long Beach and the region.
The 2013 budget also adds 25 new positions at the Port, mainly to support the increased construction activity. There are no salary increases for management and only contractually mandated increases for staff.
Port finance officials also estimated a Tidelands Fund transfer of $16.8 million to the City based on 5 percent of operating revenue for 2012. The City has not yet requested the transfer officially.
Dredging Today Staff, June 7, 2012; Image: polb