In response to the Grunion Gazette article “Property owners might pay more in mosquito war” by Hayley Munguia (May 23).
I received the official notice and assessment ballot outlining the proposed levy ($8.21 zone “A” which is most of the city) to be added to property taxes annually. In 2019-2020 the total amount raised is approximately $753,474 and “the assessment will continue (with increases of up to 3% each year).”
Mosquitos, vector and disease control is affects every resident in this city. Why is it that only property owners are asked to shoulder this latest request for more money?
Why isnʼt the City allocating general funds? Remember that 1% sales tax increase in 2017 that brought our city sales tax rate to 10.25%?
Misleading Statement: “If you are in receipt of an assessment information ballot, it is because “The City of Long Beach Health Dept. is the sole provider of mosquito, vector and disease control services for your property.”
Most property owners I know pay independent pest control companies to monitor, treat, exterminate and control pests such as: mosquitos, cockroaches, fleas, rodents, etc., NOT The City of Long Beach Health Dept. mosquito and vector control program! I own a condominium. There are 125 units on the property, and together we pay a $6,000 per year contract for these services.
Misleading: Approximately 90% of the information guide discusses mosquitos specifically, mosquito control, monitoring for emergence of invasive mosquito species, monitoring for diseases transmitted by mosquitos (Zike, West Nile, malaria, encephalitis), response to new mosquito-borne diseases quickly and efficiently, West Nile Virus disease prevention, providing mosquito eating fish free of charge, community education about protecting themselves and their pets from diseases carried by mosquitos (and other vectors) and how to prevent mosquito breeding.
Fact: Long Beach reported NO cases of West Nile virus in 2018.
Fact: “There have been more human cases of flea-borne typhus in the last five years than in the last 50 years.” Last year The city of Long Beach Health and Human Services reported 20 cases. www.longbeach.gov/health.
Humans are infected with flea-borne typhus by the common flea. In the United States, rats, opossums, and other small mammals carry them. Fleas may become infected, when they bite these animals, and the fleas can then spread the bacteria to humans, dogs, and cats.
The ballot guide states that the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is primarily funded by the Health Departmentʼs realignment fund, which comes from State Vehicle License Fees, and sales taxes.
According to the Health and Human Services website, 99% of its funding comes from State, county, federal funds and donations. Why doesnʼt the city of Long Beach add a portion of general funds to support our Health and Human Services?
The proposed budget for city employee wages and benefits fiscal year 2018-2019 is ($1,075,228,982) Thatʼs a billion dollars — an increase of $69,122,181 from the adopted budget 2017-2018
I believe the word corrupt is overused and isnʼt always accurate. However, if the governmentʼs job is to protect citizens, the city of Long Beach appears to be protecting its employees, pension benefits and futures with great vigor and attention. Mayor Garcia, staff and the City Council need to be held accountable, but so does the voting public!
I find it disheartening how our city and state government uses confusing wording and non-transparent tactics to protect their interests. When the city suggests a tax increase, assessment or fee instead of checking “Yes” and not questioning your trusted servants, please inquire. Ask some questions first.
If we see gluttony and greed protected over human health and disease control, we the People, need to take a stand! We should want and EXPECT to see our city government using our collective taxes to ensure a safe, secure, beautiful, disease-free community.
To really get informed, one must open your eyes and investigate. I have found the simplest way to educate oneself is to visit longbeachca.opengov.com. You can clearly see how the city of Long Beach distributes its General Funds.
Tami R. Hans is a Long Beach resident.