Port of Long Beach $828M budget for 2012 gets OK

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The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners this week approved an $828 million budget for fiscal year 2012 that includes significant investments in development projects to expand trade. The spending plan includes $630 million in capital improvement projects that will support nearly 6,000 local jobs. The port says the budget reflects its strategy to boost its business activities by investing aggressively in environmental and capital improvement projects while keeping operating costs in check.

The 2012 budget includes $59 million for pollution cutting shore-side electrical power for ships, $109 million for the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project and $231 million for the construction of the Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project. Meanwhile, the budget also will cut the nonpersonnel cost of port operations by 7 percent, following a 12 percent reduction in fiscal year 2011 and 4 percent the year before.

“We are seeing some signs that the global recession is easing and our revenues are beginning to recover,” says Richard Steinke, port executive director. ”We are investing in our future, while living within our means today. Our prudent fiscal management is what gives us the ability to invest and to stay competitive in our industry. We must continue to modernize and ‘green’ our operations.”

The fiscal year 2012 budget represents a 26 percent increase from the previous year, mainly as a result of the increase in capital spending. According to the port, containerized cargo volumes are increasing, and operating revenue is expected to grow by about 3 percent in fiscal year 2012.

The port also expects to issue $300 million in new bonds and draw $60 million from its reserve funds. The budget will be included with the rest of the city’s budget when it goes to the Long Beach mayor and city council for review.