HomeCity Government NewsSan Marino Adopts Final Budget for 2016-17 Fiscal Year

San Marino Adopts Final Budget for 2016-17 Fiscal Year

The San Marino City Council unanimously approved the City of San Marino’s operating budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year at its June 8 regular meeting.

The council went through each newly requested expenditure in the $26 million budget both line-by-line and department-by-department in order to hammer out all undesired costs.

Council members approved a budget of about $2.2 million for administration, $1.1 million for the planning and building, $6.6 million for police, $6.1 million for fire, $5.2 million for public works, $2.2 million for recreation, $1.6 million for the library and significantly smaller amounts for the Old Mill, San Marino TV and emergency services departments.

Though the approved budget shows a $1.23 million surplus of unrestricted funds – monies that the council can appropriate to any item – City Manager John Schaefer told council members not to rely on that surplus.

“We’re in the black to start, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t immediate expenditures,” Schaefer said.

One such immediate expense could be the city’s pavement management program, which Schaefer said will likely call for “dramatic improvements” to city streets and sidewalks.

The city expects to receive a report from its consultants soon on the “individual and overall health of the city’s streets,” according to Assistant City Manager Lucy Garcia.

When that report arrives, council members will have the opportunity to pick from a list of strategies for how to best approach the city’s aging streets and sidewalks.

Though that decision lies down the road, Schaefer told the council, “the longer you let a street go, the more it’s going to cost.”

He added that the Lacy Park rose arbor renovation project is another unknown cost.

The council budgeted for larger purchases in its capitalized equipment fund, an $887,450 account intended to group equipment requests from all the departments.

Absent from the discussion were recommendations from the ad hoc budget committee, which was established last November to conduct a management audit of each city department.

At the time of the committee’s first meeting in January, members of the ad hoc committee—Mayor Allan Yung, Councilman Steve Talt, Al Boegh, Stefan Dietrich, Hal Harrigian, Susan Jakubowski and Dan Biles—were aware that the city and the committee were on different schedules.

Nonetheless, Councilman Talt asked the council to deny a promotion of an intern to an assistant to the city manager, who would also function as an administrative analyst, in the city’s administration department, opting to wait for the ad hoc committee’s report.

The promotion would cost an additional $24,281 annually.

Talt argued that it becomes difficult to fire an employee once one is hired. “I think [hiring a new assistant] is ill advised until we hear from the ad hoc committee,” said Talt.

Al Boegh, a member of the committee, was present at the meeting. “We’re working hard,” he said.

Mayor Yung did not have as much faith in the committee’s ability to produce a thorough report by the June 30 deadline.

“I don’t believe our ad hoc committee can come up with cement answers,” Yung said. “We have to do the best we can at this time.”

In that spirit, Councilman Talt and City Manager Schaefer arrived at a compromise that approved the new position but placed a freeze on the hiring process for that position.

Talt also had questions regarding $88,000 allocated for engineering services. The city expects to announce the hiring of a new Public Works Director/City Engineer in the coming weeks that would reduce the cost of contracting out surveying and drafting services.

Savings will depend on the number of projects approved by the council and an assessment by the new Public Works Director said Assistant City Manager Garcia.

Schaefer also noted that the new director of public works will be told to look for ways to cut engineering costs.

Personnel changes coming out of the council’s closed session meetings include the approval of a salary adjustment to the 55th percentile of a recent market survey conducted by the city for management employees and and supervisory employees.

Mayor Yung was the lone voice in opposition to this change.

“I’d like to break the myth of the 55th percentile,” he said. Yung encouraged his colleagues to take a closer look at the change and consider an adjustment to the 50th percentile this year.

The council approved $1,500 in the administration’s budget for video-taping of city council meeting, per a request from Councilman Steven Huang.

The council may also reconsider returning oversight of the Old Mill to the recreation department. Currently under the Old Mill Foundation’s jurisdiction, the foundation has booked only 6 events as opposed to the 21 events booked by the recreation department the year before.

Vice Mayor Richard Sun presented the idea, noting that he would like the council to consider ways of increasing income in addition to cutting costs.

Now that the budget has been approved, the city council can move on to other business at its next meeting on Friday, June 24 at 8 a.m.


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