City Council swears in new mayor, vice mayor, adopts balanced 2015-16 budget

City Council approved on Monday a budget that projects a surplus for the 2015-16 fiscal year. City staff proposed the budget during Monday’s Council meeting.

The budget projects a surplus of $11,642. The bulk of Alhambra’s General Fund spending is on public safety, with $23.4 million going towards the police department and $14.7 million to the fire department. 

The General Fund receives most of its revenue from property taxes ($18.8 million) and the sales tax ($16.6 million).

“The proposed budget is a balanced, hold-the-line budget and focuses on city services, programs, and includes an aggressive capital improvement plan,” said Paul Espinoza, Finance Director for the City of Alhambra.

The plan dedicates $20.7 million to upgrading municipal resources. Some allocations include $8 million to enhancing the sewer systems and $2.6 million for transportation.

Monday’s meeting also saw Councilman Luis Ayala sworn in as mayor and Councilwoman Barbara Messina as vice mayor. The City Council rotates positions every nine months. Councilman Gary Yamauchi finished his term as mayor.

“This past term as the mayor has been extremely delightful.” Yamauchi said. “So many of the things that we do have actually been done by the city staff. We do the voting, we get the credit. But believe me, 99 percent of the work is done by city staff.”

Yamauchi will term out of City Council next year, so this is the end of his final tenure as mayor.

Ayala said he wants to focus his third term on creating opportunities for Alhambra’s youth. “I want to really focus on having the best facilities, parks, opportunities, whether it be afterschool programs other than school district related, for our youth here in Alhambra.”  Ayala cited a study he read in graduate school: “A young person that grows up with a great sense of self identity tends to be more successful later on in life.” He hopes city services can help young people attain that sense of self.

“I, too, like Luis [Ayala] am very proud of everything we have accomplished because we have the greatest employees working with us, not for us, with us because we are a team,” said Messina, who has served disjointed terms on the City Council totaling 19 years, with 8 years spent on the school board.

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