Almanac

News - September 4, 2013

Atherton residents may be off the hook for presidential visit costs

by Renee Batti

The town of Atherton is likely to drop its efforts to require two Atherton couples who hosted fundraising events for President Obama to pay the town's costs of providing extra police and public works services for the April events.

The City Council on Sept. 4 will review a report by City Manager George Rodericks recommending that the town resign itself to paying the bill — just over $8,000 — because town staff who had known about the event in advance didn't request a special event permit or advise the hosts that they could be liable for costs.

"However, it is also staff's recommendation that the town step up public education regarding private events on private property that trigger the need for extraordinary public resources and the fact that such events will require reimbursement of any extraordinary costs incurred," Mr. Rodericks said in the report.

The two events in question were hosted by Marcia and John Goldman, and Liz Simons and Mark Heising.

According to the report, town ordinances required the hosts to obtain permits in advance of the events, including a permit that's required for landing a helicopter in town except in an emergency.

Mr. Rodericks said that staff plans to tighten up applicable language of the town's ordinances and policies, and boost efforts to inform residents of the rules.

At the same meeting, the council will also hold a public hearing on the proposed changes in the town's master fee schedule, which sets fees charged for town services, and review the Menlo-Atherton Little League plan to construct facilities and upgrade the playing field in Holbrook-Palmer Park.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road, in the Town Center.

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