October 21, 2022

City Council Approves New 3-year Contract for Long Beach Firefighters, Lifeguards

On October 18, 2022, the city council voted unanimously to approve a 3-year labor contract with the Long Beach firefighters and the union representing the city’s lifeguards. In recent years, the city has struggled to meet staffing levels and hopes the contract will help retain and attract firefighters.

The contract with the Long Beach Firefighters Association will raise salaries by 5%, 4%, and 3.5% for approximately 400 members of the firefighter department, expected to cost the city $14.4 million. The new lifeguard contract will cost the city about $1 million over the next three years, but the increase will be paid out of the city’s Tidelands Fund, which is tied to oil production and is required to be spent in coastal areas.

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City to Restart Business License Tax, Fee Collection: What you Need to Know

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the city suspended business tax collection to help relieve business owners from drowning in expenses. The tax and fees collection are expected to resume early next year, with businesses facing penalties if they do not pay in full or set up a “flexible” payment plan.

Business owners are required to renew their licenses each year to legally operate in the city. Taxes and fees vary based on business type, with a base rate of $252.84 for home-based businesses and independent contractors, and $412.26 for most other operations located in commercial space. Currently, there are approximately 36,825 business licenses and permits in Long Beach. Each year, thousands of businesses pay business license fees and taxes, which total upward of $24 million in annual revenue for Long Beach’s general fund.

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Long Beach Hotels are Nearing Pre-Pandemic Occupancy, with Full Recovery Expected Next Year

Long Beach hotels are finally experiencing near-normal business volumes after business declined sharply in March 2020 and into 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Occupancy in Long Beach hotels through August is nearly 75%, compared to the 66% peak national average, which was reached in 2019. Projections based on present conditions show the overall hotel industry should be consistently at or above pre-pandemic levels in mid-2023.

Long Beach’s hotel recovery can be attributed to its affordability, access to a small municipal airport, and weather. Long Beach’s central location between Los Angeles attractions such as Universal Studios and various museums and Orange County attractions such as Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm— as well as the city’s attractions such as the Aquarium of the Pacific—make it an ideal home base for travelers.

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Long Beach Hopes for Holiday Season that’s ‘Bigger and Better than Ever’

Long Beach’s 2022 holiday season is slated for a strong comeback with efforts to engage the local community, tourists and businesses. The Downtown Long Beach Alliance will start its celebration of the season with a virtual scavenger hunt that will launch the first week of November and run through the end of December. The scavenger hunt’s top participants will be awarded gift cards to local businesses.

To highlight numerous local businesses for Shop Small Saturday on November 26, Downtown Long Beach will soon be replacing the signal wrap signs on Pine Avenue from First to Fourth Street with large photos of business owners and their stores, along with a QR code including a map to the location and additional information.

This year marks the city’s the eighth annual tree lighting, located in front of the Terrace Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Increased funding from the Long Beach City Council allowed for triple the number of holiday lights on the plaza and an artificial tree that will stand at 67 feet compared to around 50 feet in previous years.

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Industry Links

Long Beach Main Library in Downtown to Reopen Thursday, Officials Say

8 Downtown Bus Stops to Close Temporarily for New Shelter Construction

For more information, please contact Mary Frances Torres, SR/WA, Acting Real Estate Development Bureau Manager, Economic Development Department, at mary.torres@longbeach.gov.