The Long Beach City Council has given tentative support to a proposed tax district that would finance security, promotions and other projects for businesses downtown and ultimately eliminate the need for city subsidies for such services.
The proposed district would raise roughly $919,000 a year through an extra assessment on property taxes in an area that includes the Pine Avenue retail zone, East Village, the Civic Center and hotels and office complexes on Ocean Boulevard.
The tax would pay for bike patrols to deter aggressive panhandling, landscaping and marketing services to attract businesses and investment to the area.
These services are now financed by Downtown Long Beach Associates, which raises $250,000 a year through added business license fees, and the city's redevelopment agency, which last year contributed $345,000. The agency has announced that it will end its contributions in September.
Under the proposed tax district, the city would pay $123,498 in taxes on the property it owns downtown.
"The redevelopment agency doesn't have the money to put into maintenance as it did in the past," Larry Triesch, the city's acting economic development bureau manager, said Wednesday. "This way the property owners are taking responsibility for their own area."