Minutes after the Piedmont City Council selected John Chiang as the city's new mayor Tuesday night, Chiang outlined his priorities – with an emphasis on managing the city's finances in order to maintain current levels of of municipal services.
Chiang said he supports the Municipal Tax Review Committee's recommendation to include a five-year financial projection in the city's budgeting process.
In line with that, he hopes to form a new citizens' advisory committee within 45 days to focus on financial planning.
Chiang also emphasized the need to "live within our means" as a city. A large part of that, he said, is controlling the rising costs of city employee benefits. That should include employee contributions to cover increases in pension plan costs, he said.
Among Chiang's other major points:
- The need to renew the municipal services tax.
- Meeting EPA mandates for sanitary sewer repair and replacement.
- Support for public/private partnerships. He cited the Japanese Tea Garden and the Piedmont Center for the Arts as examples.
- Ensuring sufficient reserves for capital improvement projects.
Chiang also praised the work of groups that support a vibrant, diverse Piedmont community, citing the Appreciating Diversity Committee and PAAC (the Piedmont Asian American Club).
Other city council members also spoke at Tuesday's combined council meeting and swearing-in ceremony at Piedmont Community Hall.
Margaret Fujioka, re-elected to the council and chosen as the city's new vice mayor, said the city "must bring expenditures in line with revenue" and also emphasized the need to renovate Piedmont's sanitary sewer system.
Other priorities, she said, include"being smarter and tougher on crime" and "encouraging greater civility in public discourse."
Bob McBain, newly elected to the council, thanked his supporters and praised a Piedmont Post series of articles on community cohesiveness.
In a letter read aloud at the meeting, council member Garrett Keating, on vacation this week, congratulated the winners of the Feb. 7 municipal election. He also praised Tim Rood, who lost a council seat to McBain by 26 votes, for his civic participation and said running for office should be recognized as a form of volunteerism.