HomeCity NewsCity Hall Seeks Resident Input For Priority Initiatives

City Hall Seeks Resident Input For Priority Initiatives

San Marino City Hall. Daryl Chan Photo

For the first time in recent San Marino history, residents have the opportunity to vote on 21 issues that the city is currently considering for next year’s budgetary process. The City Council is taking account of what special projects–or priority initiatives–that staff should dedicate time and/or financial resources to next year. Some of the issues include co-sponsoring events with the school district and community groups, creating a Business Improvement District and developing a 20-year Master Plan for Lacy Park.

Residents are encouraged to vote via an online survey that is available on the city’s website, call City Hall or visit City Hall to pick up a paper voting sheet. Residents have until the City Council meeting on February 22 to weigh in. The results will then be further considered by the council.

“These are our ideas about things that maybe we don’t have now that could make things a little bit better for the community in a variety of different ways,” said City Manager Dr. Marcella Marlowe. “They’re new things.”

The list has been pared down from an initial 53 topics that were born from a brainstorming meeting with City Council and the city’s executive team. The council then applied preferences to which of the 53 topics they’d like to see go forward. The current 21 issues fall under eight critical success factors (such as engaged and connected residents, safe community and well-maintained infrastructure) that were adopted last year as part of the city’s strategic plan.

The issues were unveiled at the Town Hall meeting on Monday, January 4, one of this year’s monthly meetings held on the first Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the Crowell Public Library’s Barth Community Room. Marlowe introduced the three residents in attendance to the topics, encouraged them to ask any questions they may have and then vote on the top 10 issues they’d like to see the council address. Executive leaders from each of the departments were in attendance and residents shared direct time with each to learn more about the issues.

Last year’s budget was adopted two months later than usual, intentionally, and it included almost no public involvement, according to Marlowe. This year, she said the entire process is now different and the city is working to stretch the process out so that “more information at a high level” gets to the City Council with input from residents.

At the Town Hall meeting, resident Miriam Quan carefully considered the voting sheet and talked with several city officials. She said she appreciated how the city provided the ability to talk one-on-one with leaders in order to get a more nuanced view of the issues.

“I like how they’ve had people explain things in depth,” said Quan. “It’s nice that you can actually talk to the people who are in the know and they can explain it to you more fully.”

John Dustin, a former Design Review Committee member, was also in attendance to learn more about the budget issues. He said the ability to talk directly with staff helped him better understand the pros and cons of the issues. Initially excited about the prospect of additional city street cameras, Dustin said he understood the constraints they involve after talking with Chief of Police John Incontro.

“It actually was really nice to be able to spend significant time with people and ask questions,” said Dustin. “I liked the list of projects that they came up with. I would hope that they publish the results when residents start voting because I’d be interested to see how other people think about things.”

Vice Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey shared that it was very important for the city to get a sense of what the community’s priorities are and what they’d like to see accomplished.

“We really need direction from residents and what they’d like to see done,” said Shepherd Romey. “I think that should influence our budget priorities.”

To participate in the voting process for the 21 priority initiatives, visit www.cityofsanmarino.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=634 or stop by City Hall at 2200 Huntington Dr. For more information, residents may also contact Amanda Fowler, assistant to the city manager, at (626) 300-0781 or email afowler@cityofsanmarino.org.

Next month’s Town Hall meeting will be held Monday, March 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the Crowell Public Library’s Barth Community Room. The topic will involve San Marino traffic options for the $32 million in Measure R funds tied to the SR-710 North study.

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