AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Siccama, 44, agreed the city needs the type of development projects that bring tax dollars into the coffers, such as restaurants and stores. “The last several years, the city has been cutting back on city programs, while at the same time, they’re giving loans to developers and forgiving them,” he said. “When we have land or offers, we should put them up for bid and let the developer pay for the land and project. We don’t need to pay for the whole thing.” Larry Salazar, 48, wants the city to sell two of its water companies, along with any unneeded land. He also wants a professional management company brought in to oversee the municipal golf course. And he is a long-time opponent of raising the city’s utility tax and opposes eminent domain. “The council needs to learn to live within its means,” he said. “They don’t seem to understand that. They waste a lot of money through mismanagement, that’s what I see. Last year, they forced that election for the utility tax because of (mismanagement), even though the people didn’t want it.” While Ramirez, who declined to give her age, said improving public safety would help bring in new businesses, she suggested auditing all city departments to determine where money is being wasted. MONTEBELLO – Montebello’s budget crisis has surfaced as the prominent issue for the eight candidates seeking three open City Council seats in Tuesday’s elections.As the sole incumbent, Mayor Bill Molinari has been a favorite target for challengers Jeff Siccama, Larry Salazar, Sally Torres, Annette Ramirez and Octavio Guzman, all of whom blame the current council for mismanaging the city’s finances. Three other candidates, Kathy Salazar, Johnny Verdugo and Rosie Vasquez, say undiscovered wasteful spending, not the council’s mismanagement, might be behind the city’s financial problems. Torres, 54, said favoritism and special interests have divided the council, helping to create the city’s financial woes. “The decisions made over the last 10-20 years have come to a head as a financial crisis,” she said. “We need a business-friendly environment in City Hall and a legitimate campaign to bring business into Montebello.” “I am in favor of looking at all the departments’ books,” she said. “I think we should ensure we’re responsible with the budget, spending only what we bring in in tax revenue.” Guzman, 52, also suggest auditing all city departments to determine where money is being wasted. “We need to develop the south side of Montebello, in the blighted areas,” he said. “People want to blame (city administrator) Richard Torres for it all, but we should be blaming the council. They’re the ones who make those decisions.” Vasquezsupports hiring a grant-writing firm, on a commission basis, to tap into federal grant money. “People say it’s mismanagement, but I would want to see an audit of all departments,” she said. “When you start adding up all the expenses and services, along with the police and fire budgets, it’s a lot. The costs of running the city goes up every year.” Verdugo, 37, thinks brainstorming with different departments is bound to produce savings. “I would like to meet with division heads for ideas to save money and cut costs,” he said. “I would also want to ask those people who’ve been in city government for 30 years, to be inclusive on ideas to generate revenue.” Kathy Salazar (no relation to Larry) joined Molinari in disputing reports that the city faced a projected $1.7 million deficit next year. She is the only candidate besides Molinari who has previously held a City Council seat. Although Molinari said the budget was tight, he disagreed that any deficit was looming. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!