Mayor Huang Calls for 10% Budget Cut

Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK Dr. Steven Huang and Gretchen Shepherd Romey were chosen as San Marino’s mayor and vice mayor for 2019.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Dr. Steven Huang and Gretchen Shepherd Romey were chosen as San
Marino’s mayor and vice mayor for 2019.

As the new mayor, Dr. Steven Huang said he will seek a blanket 10% reduction in expenses for the city’s next budget, emphasize finding answers to questions about the city’s Recreation Department and its facility in the Stoneman building, develop a sense of direction regarding the city’s pension liability and review how the Fire Department handles shift absences.
These he outlined at last week’s City Council meeting, when, per the city’s informal rotation, he graduated from vice mayor to mayor and sent his predecessor, Steve Talt, to the end of the proverbial bench. Gretchen Shepherd Romey also was chosen to serve as vice mayor for the year.
“I still remember the first day I set foot in San Marino,” Huang said, opening his traditional agenda speech. “I was only 12. I could not speak a word of English and I only knew the 26 letters of the alphabet. If you told me then that I would one day be mayor of San Marino, I would have thought that you were crazy.”
The call to reduce the city’s overall expenditure budget — it hovered around $23 million this year — by 10% wasn’t a surprise from Huang. He made a similar request during the budget process this year. He further tasked City Manager Marcella Marlowe with accomplishing this feat without reducing staff and by providing monthly updates on her progress leading up to the new fiscal year on July 1.
“I’ve raised this issue before,” he said. “I’m looking at about a $2.3 million reduction.”
Huang said he also endeavors to reach a point with the Recreation Department ­— whose organizational structure and operating philosophy are presently undergoing reform ­— in which its programming recovers cost, which he said could add $600,000 toward that 10% reduction. However, the Stoneman building, which houses the majority of that department, remains another expensive question as it faces the need to be brought up to current code and standards.
“I’m humbled to be your mayor for the next 12 months and I will do my best to serve you,” Huang said.

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