LONG BEACH — More cash is on the way to help pay for the rebuild of Alamitos Bay Marina, as Long Beach City Council authorized $125 million in bonds and funding to be issued to finance waterside improvements at Los Angeles County’s southeastern-most recreational boating venue.
Council members unanimously voted in favor of issuing the Marina Revenue Bonds during their May 5 meeting.
Money from the bond would be used to pay for several aspects of the marina rebuild, including $49.2 million for waterside improvements and prepayments on existing state loans, according to city staff.
Councilwoman Suzie Price, whose third district includes Alamitos Bay Marina, said the rebuild was a long time coming and the bond will help Long Beach be a prime destination for recreational boaters.
“[The marina is] in an extremely dilapidated condition,” Price said. “Given a city of this size and the offerings that we provide to the boating community, the marina does not reflect the quality or the image that we want. To be able to do this through this offering is huge progress for our city.”
Councilman Al Austin recalled large crowds filling the council chambers last year to plead with him and his colleagues to make improvements at Alamitos Bay Marina, which was built in the late 1950s.
“A year ago, there was very little hope. We didn’t really have a pathway to get it fixed,” Austin said, adding city staff put together some “creative financing” to find the funding necessary to upgrade the marina.
According to city staff, approving the issuance of bonds for the marina rebuild would not expose the city to debt.
“The … bonds will be special, limited obligations of the city, secured solely by a pledge of Marina Fund revenues, primarily monthly slip rent for boat docking,” city staff stated. “[It] will not be a debt of the city, nor will the credit or taxing power of the city be pledged.”
Repayment of the bonds would be covered by slip revenues, which, according to city staff, comprises of more than 80 percent of total Marina Fund revenues.
While the city would not be exposing itself to debt in issuing the bond, boaters who use slips at Alamitos Bay Marina could soon be facing a 2 percent increase in slip rent fees.
Price stated the bond would be issued for $120 million, with an additional $5 million available for contingency funding. In addition to providing $49.2 million in funding to complete the marina rebuild, the bonds will also help Long Beach repay a $61.5 million state loan.
City staff added the issuance of the bond would boost the local economy by providing up to 30 jobs during the next phases of the rebuild.
During public comment, one speaker urged the council to wait until after June 8 to issue the bond. The city could be able to take advantage of a lower bond rate by waiting a few more weeks, he said, depending upon the outcome of a June 8 court hearing.
Long Beach is currently in Phase 5 of construction. Council members green lit the next phase of construction when they approved a $16.9 million loan on March 17.
Alamitos Bay Marina’s rebuild started in February 2010. Bellingham Marine Industries was selected to complete the multi-phase rebuild of the country’s largest city-owned marina.
The final vote at the council’s May 5 meeting was 7-0 in favor of issuing the bond.