Atherton parcel tax renewal wins handily

Atherton's parcel tax renewal, Measure S, won a resounding victory, passing 1,104 votes to 319. Measure S, and its companion Measure T, give the town a four-year extension of the current parcel tax that costs most homeowners $750 a year.

"I'm delighted," said Atherton Mayor Jerry Carlson. "It allows us to continue our capital projects and do (fiscal) planning for next year."

The current parcel tax measure expires June 30, and last year it generated $1.86 million in revenue for the town, according to Atherton Finance Director Louise Ho. The money flows into the town's general fund, and each year, the City Council decides how to allocate it. In recent years, most of the parcel tax has gone toward capital improvement projects.

Measure S to renew the tax got more than the two-thirds vote needed to pass, winning 77.6 percent to 22.4 percent, with all precincts reporting. Voter turnout was nearly 30 percent, not including any provisional ballots or absentee ballots that may still be uncounted.

Measure T, which allows the town to collect and spend the revenues from the renewed parcel tax, needed only a simple majority and it passed 68.5 percent to 31.5 percent.

"I think it shows support for town services, and certainly the police department is a big factor there," Mr. Carlson said.

However, the success at the polls is not making Mr. Carlson complacent.

"There are areas we need to continue to improve upon, finding efficiencies and cleaning up the mess from the past," he said. "Some of the expert advice the council relied upon in the past turned out to be ... well, it needed some cleaning up."

Town officials have been working hard to clear up old personnel issues and ongoing litigation against the town, Mr. Carlson said.

"I think we've got good legal counsel that is helping us stay clear of the land mines we got ourselves into," he said. "I think next year's council will have a cleaner slate to work with. It ought to be a good year next year."

See latest vote count.


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