Long Beach City Auditor Laura Doud’s visionary initiative in 2006 has led to a windfall of over $52 million for the city’s Police and Fire Departments, ensuring enhanced public safety services without any burden on taxpayers. The innovative Public Safety Oil Production Act (Proposition H) was born out of Doud’s astute observation of a low tax rate on oil producers in comparison to neighboring cities.
Since its enactment in 2007, the Public Safety Oil Production Act has consistently generated an average of $3.25 million annually, fortifying essential services provided by the Long Beach Police and Fire Departments.
City Auditor Laura Doud emphasized the crucial role these funds play in supporting public safety staffing, emergency response, homelessness outreach, mental health services, and more. With California’s shift away from oil production, Mayor Rex Richardson’s request for a comprehensive review of oil production revenue, overseen by Doud’s office, becomes particularly pertinent. This review will gauge the potential impact of revenue loss on vital city services like public safety.
The impact of the Public Safety Oil Production Act extends beyond traditional public safety measures. These funds have been instrumental in bolstering the city’s efforts to combat homelessness. Initiatives such as the Homelessness Education and Response Team have facilitated over 800 emergency medical service contacts in a single year. The Quality of Life Team, in collaboration with the Mental Evaluation Team, has successfully connected homeless individuals with critical support services, including temporary housing and mental health facilities.
Mental Evaluation Team Officer E. Gorski underlined the transformative impact of these funds, stating, “When people are given the proper help and opportunity to succeed, it, in turn, creates a safer city.” The teams collectively made nearly 900 contacts with individuals experiencing homelessness in 2022, conducting over 600 crisis evaluations.
The Public Safety Oil Production Act has been instrumental in supporting Fire Station 17, Truck 17, which responded to an astounding 26,395 incidents over a decade, including medical emergencies, fires, rescues, and assists.
Moreover, these funds have been a linchpin for critical police and fire resources and operations. Notable allocations include funding for a fire truck in 2009, which continues to serve the Fire Department to this day, as well as the Crime Impact Motor Team’s response to over 107,000 community safety incidents in an eight-year period. Additionally, the act has facilitated the graduation of 135 new firefighters and 212 new police officers through Fire and Police Academy sessions.
For those interested in delving deeper into the impact of the Public Safety Oil Production Act, the City Auditor’s Office has released a comprehensive visual summary, available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Khmer, and Tagalog. Printed copies can be requested via email at Auditor@longbeach.gov or by phone at 562-570-6751.
In 2006, City Auditor Laura Doud’s meticulous analysis paved the way for the Public Safety Oil Production Act, enhancing Long Beach’s public safety infrastructure. Mandating an annual independent review by the City Auditor’s Office, the voter-approved ordinance ensures transparent and accountable use of these funds, as they continue to be a cornerstone of the city’s Police and Fire Departments.