Almanac

News - June 25, 2014

Portola Valley: Capital improvements focus of budget

by Dave Boyce

The Portola Valley Town Council will be considering a $4.5 million budget at its June 25 meeting.

The new fiscal year starts July 1, and the work plan laid out for the next 12 months is a multi-front effort. Among the major focuses: capital improvements, effective communications between Town Hall and the community, preparing for natural disasters, saving water, and ending the role of consultants in running the Planning Department.

The council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road.

Also on the agenda is a proposal by staff to approve a 5.58 percent "special rate adjustment" for GreenWaste Recovery Inc., the San Jose firm that collects the town's compostable and recyclable materials.

The budget projects a surplus of $347,791, but it will be spent to cover street maintenance (due to inadequate gas tax revenues) and $448,400 in general capital improvements and equipment purchases. The net result: the general fund balance will drop by $257,159. "While this amount is technically a budget deficit, the deficit arises from capital purchases fully funded by operating surpluses from prior fiscal years," Town Manager Nick Pegueros said in his budget message.

Under the category of staff excellence, the budget includes a team-building retreat for planning staff.

In another Planning Department item, the budget allocates $40,000 to renovate the interior of Town Hall, in part to improve the joint viewing, by staff and residents, of planning documents laid out for analysis.

Other capital improvement highlights include:

• $100,000 to upgrade the emergency generator at the Town Center to more fully connect the facilities there.

• $50,000 for audio-visual equipment in the Community Hall.

• $40,000 for an F-150 Eco-Boost 4x4 pickup truck.

• $15,000 for a new roadside radar trailer.

The budget includes $201,000 for an in-house planning director, and $65,000 for a part-time person to handle public communications and record management.

Steps to encourage greener lifestyles will include looking into funding for a school bus, encouraging staff to commute with fuel-efficient vehicles, and adding to Town Hall's paperless office practices "where feasible."

Go to tinyurl.com/PV-budg23 and turn to Page 38 to see the proposed budget.

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