A group of Long Beach businesses won permission this week to establish a security tax across their industrial section of the city.
The City Council voted unanimously to establish a tax assessment district among more than 300 property owners in a square-mile section northwest of downtown.
The Magnolia Industrial Group gathered overwhelming support among property owners this spring for 24-hour private security services in the commercial neighborhood.
Depending on the size of their lots, each business will pay between $50 and $100 a month as part of their tax bill beginning Jan. 1. The contributions are expected to total $79,000 yearly, almost all of which must be spent on security.
Thanks to recent changes in state tax law, the agreement marks the first time in the state that an industrial area has been allowed to establish its own taxes for security purposes, said Councilwoman Jenny Oropeza, who promoted the measure.
"A lot of people feel that government should do everything for them," Oropeza said. "These [businesses] have taken it upon themselves to take care of their own needs."
Besides helping police control crime in the high-risk area, group President Dick Young said the new security could draw businesses to the neighborhood. He added that some businesses contribute money voluntarily toward a smaller-scale security program.