City Council Budget $28 Million: Now, How to Spend It?

In preparing the city’s budget for the next fiscal year, department heads have been asked to either trim expenses or to maintain expenses and improve efficiency — but the City Council avoided phrasing any reduction or improvement as a specific order.
City Manager Marcella Marlowe said she plans to present a fairly maintained General Fund budget — one that doesn’t substantially add or reduce from the current year — as she continues to iron out the wrinkles of prior bureaucratic mismanagement in City Hall. Parks and Public Works Director Michael Throne outlined a plan to develop his department’s “assembly line” that will allow the city to aggressively address deferred infrastructure maintenance. Continue reading “City Council Budget $28 Million: Now, How to Spend It?”

City Council Ensures Capital Projects Funding

The City Council has taken the next step to what will likely result in public works projects becoming the routine for the foreseeable future.
Moving forward, the city will maintain a reserve fund balance of about 40% of General Fund revenues, with any exceeding amount to be transferred to either a Capital Projects Fund or a Capital Equipment Fund. The reserve fund balance will be used only for one-time expenditures in response to unanticipated needs or shortfalls in revenue, and if that happens, the city will plan to rebuild the balance back to the 40% benchmark as quickly as practical. Continue reading “City Council Ensures Capital Projects Funding”

Recreation Department May Phase Out Preschool Program

The City Council has directed the city to develop a plan to phase out the preschool program from the Recreation Department’s offerings to the public, the first step in what could be more changes to the department.
A separate motion to work on eliminating the department’s after-school programming failed simply because no council member seconded the motion. In the meantime, a separate motion directing City Manager Marcella Marlowe to meet with San Marino Unified School District officials on a possible after-school partnership passed unanimously. Continue reading “Recreation Department May Phase Out Preschool Program”

Advisers Set City Council on Prudent Fiscal Path

The City Council has moved forward with a number of recommendations courtesy of the advisers to the strategic financial planning committee, tentatively setting the tone for how the city will start to approach its operational and capital expenses.
In a series of decisions made at Friday’s study session, the City Council has directed the city to maintain a fund reserve of 40% of the city’s operating revenue for the fiscal year and to commit any extra funds to a capital expense fund; to pay only its minimum required contribution toward the CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) pension liability; to prepare a multi-year capital spending plan and to complete a condition assessment of San Marino’s sewers, sidewalks and facilities. Continue reading “Advisers Set City Council on Prudent Fiscal Path”

City Council to Address Finances, Strategic Plan

The City Council meeting this Friday, April 27, looks to be a busy one, with presentation items on both the long-term strategic financial planning committee’s report and the overall Strategic Plan developed by the City Council and city administrators.
Recommendations coming from the financial planning committee will include the preparation of a multi-year financial outlook document to be regularly discussed; the establishment of a multitude of policies regarding reserve funding; directives regarding the city’s unfunded pension liability; and the implementation of an infrastructure and capital spending plan. Continue reading “City Council to Address Finances, Strategic Plan”

Public Safety Commission Debuts With Much to Discuss

Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK Members of the newly sworn-in Public Safety Commission are Peter Loeffler (from left), alternate Jeff Boozell, Al Boegh, Hunter Chang, Eugene Ramirez and Gene Chuang. The commission meets on the third Monday each month.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Members of the newly sworn-in Public Safety Commission are Peter Loeffler (from left), alternate Jeff Boozell, Al Boegh, Hunter Chang, Eugene Ramirez and Gene Chuang. The commission meets on the third Monday each month.

They are sworn in, have had their first meeting and already have amassed a collection of issues to discuss.
San Marino’s first Public Safety Commission, effectively a spin-off of the former Traffic Advisory Commission, held its inaugural meeting last Wednesday. It was led by the City Council, which swore in members and kick-started the discussion of what the commission will be handling. Continue reading “Public Safety Commission Debuts With Much to Discuss”

San Marino Makes Finance Director Permanent

At the recommendation of Marcella Marlowe and with the concurrence of the City Council, San Marino is moving forward with Josh Betta as its full-time finance director.
Removing “interim” from Betta’s job title marks the first time in nearly two years City Hall has employed a full-time finance director on staff, having made due with contracted services before Betta was brought in initially as an interim placeholder shortly before Marlowe’s hire in October. Continue reading “San Marino Makes Finance Director Permanent”

City Aims for Organizational Viability

Quite a lot hinges on how City Hall approaches its next fiscal year, and city officials are presently trying to best triangulate themselves to make effective decisions.
The biggest tone-setter will be the budget, but other key developments — the presentation of the city’s Strategic Plan, the approval of the Human Resources Department’s Personnel Rules and Regulations manual and recommendations from the Long Term Strategic Financial Planning ad hoc committee — will set the foundation. Continue reading “City Aims for Organizational Viability”

City Council Taking Closer Look at Building Regulations

City employees have been directed to examine a number of building regulations and other ordinances to see if any modifications or updates might be considered.
Facets of the city’s governing language to be re-examined include the basement ordinance, regulations regarding the removal of trees from private properties and public medians and a variety of requirements for construction projects. The City Council decided on these items for review at its Friday morning study session and plans to address each item as it is presented in the future. Continue reading “City Council Taking Closer Look at Building Regulations”