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Harbor Commission OKs Record Budget

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles Harbor commissioners Thursday approved a fiscal 1990-91 budget of $453.8 million, a record spending plan that reflects the port’s continuing economic growth and physical expansion.

The overall budget, approved without discussion, is 4.5% greater than the current 1989-90 budget, and includes a 37% increase in capital expenditures for new construction and other improvements at the nation’s busiest port.

As in prior years, the port’s budget includes a sizable unappropriated balance for unforeseen projects and emergencies in the coming year. In 1990-91, the unappropriated balance will total almost $244 million.

But that figure is lower than the surplus contained in the 1989-90 budget because of the substantial increase in spending for capital improvements.

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Almost half of the $119 million in capital expenditures is earmarked for completing the port’s ninth container terminal at Berths 212 to 216 on Terminal Island. The $58 million terminal for NYK Lines of Japan will cover almost 100 acres and is scheduled to open next year.

In addition, the new budget includes $13.2 million for continuing work on Pier 300, a 300-acre landfill project that will provide new cargo space on Terminal Island. When completed, the $300 million project will represent the first phase of 2020, the port’s mammoth, multiyear plan to expand operations by the year 2020.

“This budget, we believe, contains the financial resources needed to keep the port competitive,” Ezunial Burts, the port’s executive director, said after commissioners approved the budget.

“It’s not a fancy budget. It is actually pretty conservative in terms of overall spending,” Burts said.

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Although revenues from leases, tariffs and other port business are expected to rise 7.6%, to $188 million, operating expenses are calculated to increase 6.8%, to $85.4 million.

The single largest operating expense is salaries for the port’s 804 employees. This coming year, the salaries account, including overtime, will total almost $30 million, $2 million more than last year.

The new fiscal year will begin Sunday with more cash-on-hand than last year. But the 1990-91 budget will rely more heavily on those funds than before because of the port’s aggressive capital budget.

Thus, the new budget projects that the port will end the 1990-91 fiscal year with an unappropriated balance of $243.8 million, $22 million less than the unappropriated balance for the fiscal year ending this Saturday.

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The numbers, according to port officials, are another measure of the port’s continuing expansion, involving more than 40 construction projects in the coming fiscal year.

The construction comes at a time when the port has emerged as the nation’s busiest harbor, surpassing New York. Fueled by ever-expanding trade from the Far East, the port led the nation in 1989 with the import or export of 1.44-million cargo containers, compared to 1.2 million in New York.

Long Beach ranked third with 1.17-million containers.

As the trade continues to grow, port Chief Financial Officer Jim Preusch said, the port expects to handle about 2.1 million containers over the next year, further proof that it must continue its expansion with new facilities.

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“This budget reflects the . . . future direction of the port and a desire to continue to meet the needs of the future,” Preusch said.

BUDGET FOR PORT OF LOS ANGELES The Port of Los Angeles’ 1990-91 budget is 4.5% greater than last year’s, with a big jump in capital expenditures--building improvements--accounting for much of the increase. Following are highlights of the port’s new budget:

Category 1989-90 1990-91 $ difference % difference Total $434.2 $453.8 $19.6 4.5% Budget million million million Revenues $174.8 $188.0 $13.2 7.6% million million million Capital $86.7 $119.0 $32.3 37.2% Expenditures million million million


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