Almanac

News - March 20, 2013

Atherton parcel tax renewal on City Council agenda

by Renee Batti

The City Council will consider hiring a consultant to help out with a likely effort to renew Atherton's parcel tax, and examine other potential revenue sources for the town when it meets on Wednesday, March 20.

The parcel tax will expire in June 2014, and the town is considering a renewal measure for the November 2013 ballot. With one exception, Atherton residents have supported the tax in the past, which must receive a two-thirds vote to pass.

Parcel tax revenue goes to police services (60 percent) and capital projects (40 percent). Tax revenue for this fiscal year is expected to come in at about $1.86 million, providing about $1.1 million to the police department and about $744,000 to public works projects, according to the staff report.

With a budget of nearly $5.5 million this fiscal year, the police department accounts for just over half of the town's $10.9 million budget.

City Manager George Rodericks said in his report that if the council chooses to ask voters to renew the parcel tax, it should consider hiring a consultant to help with public education and logistical support for putting the measure on the ballot. "Staff does not have the resources to conduct this sort of effort and it is important that public outreach and education from the town be consistent, clear, and objective," he wrote.

The council may also discuss other revenue-generating measures, such as a sales tax, increased business license tax, a utility users tax, and a real estate transfer tax, the report said.

Also on the agenda, the council will review a report on the financial ramifications of once again allowing the public to rent Holbrook-Palmer Park facilities for weddings.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road in the Town Center.

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