Long Beach restores bus service amid fiscal crisis

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Officials announced this week that weekend bus service and trips to Point Lookout would be restored Saturday after the rides were eliminated last month in the midst of the city’s financial woes.

City officials said last month that the City Council’s 3-2 vote to a reject a $2.1 million bond measure to make up for separation payments to employees had created a hole in the current budget and forced the service reduction, though Councilwoman Anissa Moore, who voted against the bond, criticized the move, and said she believed that the city had also threatened layoffs to “intimidate” the city’s workforce and residents.

The cuts also sparked an outcry among residents — including those who rely on the service — and nearly 300 people signed a Change.org petition calling for the bus service to be restored.

At Tuesday’s budget hearing, Acting City Manager Mike Tangney said that the city was restoring the service following $150,000 in transportation funding from Nassau County. All weekend bus service, as well as the Shoppers Special and trips to Point Lookout, are set to resume on Saturday, officials said.

“We are pleased to officially announce that full bus service has been restored effective immediately,” the city said on its website. “Thank you to County Executive [Laura] Curran for expediting the reimbursement process for $150,000 in transportation funds that the city has been owed by Nassau County. This payment was past due to for 2015 and 2016, and we are thrilled to finally have received it.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council voted unanimously to pierce the state tax cap as the city considers a proposed $95 million budget for 2018-19 that includes a 12 percent tax increase, which Tangney said would maintain services.

The Herald will update this story and coverage of the budget hearings.