Council OKs Hiring Director for Library, Recreation Depts.

The San Marino City Council has voted to fund and hire a community services director, setting up the hiring of a department head who will ultimately have control of both the Recreation Department and Crowell Public Library.
In approving the post, the council directed City Manager Marcella Marlowe at its meeting last week to eliminate the Recreation Department manager position at her discretion, the rationale being that the new director will be primarily focused on that department and that the money to pay for the position has to come from somewhere. Continue reading “Council OKs Hiring Director for Library, Recreation Depts.”

City Extends Ban on Tree Removals for Up to a Year

The City Council has voted to extend its moratorium on tree removals, making it a yearlong ban until the council approves a new ordinance that lays out the rules for removals.
At its meeting last week, the council also formed a subcommittee to handle emergency removal permits, which are among the few ways a tree can be removed in the meantime. Dr. Steven Huang, the vice mayor, and Councilwoman Gretchen Shepherd Romey will evaluate emergency applications. Continue reading “City Extends Ban on Tree Removals for Up to a Year”

City Council Sets Moratorium on Removal of Trees

San Marino officials will have the security of a moratorium on permits for tree removals as they tweak a proposed ordinance that is meant to address concerns about the practice and will be reintroduced in December.
Planning and Building Director Aldo Cervantes, whose department handles permits and code enforcement, has been directed to make several changes to the proposed ordinance. They include more thoroughly defining what hedges and tree topping are, adding a provision to revoke business licenses from those violating the ordinance, revising the requirement for minimum replacement tree size and removing language that distinguishes between front yard and backyard trees. Continue reading “City Council Sets Moratorium on Removal of Trees”

Protection of Mature Trees on City Council’s Friday Agenda

The City Council on Friday will consider a long-anticipated proposed ordinance designed to extend greater protection to mature trees in San Marino, including during construction projects.
Commissioned in May after a lengthy discussion, the proposal is expected to improve the manner in which the public is notified of planned tree removals, substantially increase fines for various infractions, modify the appeal process, establish new parameters for permitting the removal of trees and extend the historic landmark designation to trees. Continue reading “Protection of Mature Trees on City Council’s Friday Agenda”

Council Near Final Budget, But Hang-Ups Remain

The budget is close to completion, but the city’s administration and City Council aren’t playing horseshoes.
They will be forced to make an 11th-hour vote on the final budget later this month to ensure the city has a formal spending plan by the beginning of September, a deadline that is already past the July 1 start of the fiscal year. The City Council, in its meeting last week, remained hung up on the Parks and Public Works Department, as well as the Recreation Department, but narrowly issued tentative approval for the other municipal departments. Continue reading “Council Near Final Budget, But Hang-Ups Remain”

Committee to Look at Recreation Department

The city’s next steps regarding the Recreation Department will be among the first orders of business after the next fiscal year begins in September, following a unanimous City Council decision last Wednesday, June 13, to undergo an expedited scrub-down of the beleaguered department.
The City Council appointed Mayor Steve Talt and Councilman Ken Ude as an ad hoc committee that will work with a blue-ribbon panel of five residents to assemble a long-term plan for the Recreation Department that will ostensibly include community use and cost recovery parameters, establish a funding maximum for each fiscal year and identify programs to expand or eliminate. Continue reading “Committee to Look at Recreation Department”

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”