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Atherton council passes 'healthy outlook' budget

Original post made on Jun 25, 2013

Higher-than-expected property tax revenue and the effects of whittling down spending over the last few years have led to a "healthy outlook" on Atherton's finances, according to City Manager George Rodericks' report to the City Council, which on June 19 unanimously approved a $10.4 million operating budget for the next fiscal year.

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Comments (10)

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 25, 2013 at 9:38 am

Police services certainly take up a substantial portion of the revenue - $5.58 million of a $10.28 million budget. I hope Atherton is getting its money's worth in policing.

As Mr. Carpenter has highlighted in the past the town has one of the highest per person costs in the area.

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Posted by Suspicious numbers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 25, 2013 at 9:55 am

I believe that the numbers are being fudged by Rodericks so the pressure is off to get a sensible contract with the APOA. This is foolish. Even if the numbers are accurate, the parcel tax needs to go away or be severely reduced to benefit taxpayers. Atherton police officers are overpaid for the jobs they do. That is a separate issue from the PD being more expensive than it needs to be via outsourcing. Even if the police were kept internally, the compensation plan is way too rich. Atherton is the only city I know of that pays the cops' pension costs for them. Ridiculous. But Cary Wiest and Elizabeth Lewis have a boss, and his name is John Mattes.

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Posted by robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 25, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Maybe someone can help me as i have never understood this. Atherton claims it only source of revenue is " it is dependent on parcel tax and property tax revenues." I have also heard this used by many on this board and the Town Council.... So are the private schools and the one college no source of revenue? Also, what about the circus club? It has a complete horse program, a private club and do not forget it has a full bar - and I have never seen a reception of any type where they say the booze and food are tax free... I am sure there are other examples as well -

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Posted by Suspicious numbers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 25, 2013 at 11:17 pm

[Post removed. Please avoid speculations and personal innuendo.]

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 26, 2013 at 2:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It is important not to confuse the short term revenue increases from building permits, which cannot continue at the current rate, and from current property tax increases, which jumped dramatically with new construction but then will be constrained by Prop 13 limits, with assured long term revenue increases. The Town would be very wise to allocate as much as possible to paying down CURRENTLY underfunded pension liabilities and to augmenting existing reserves rather than using any of this increased short term revenue to increase the Town's annual 'running rate' via higher salaries, additional staff and increased benefits.

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Posted by Elections have consequences
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 26, 2013 at 9:31 am

Peter Carpenter and some of the other posters here must have been living in a different town than Atherton during last November's election and are confusing results from another election with Atherton's.

Educated consumers often choose to get higher quality for higher prices. That's why some people shop at Macy's, and others choose Neiman Marcus.

Last November, Atherton's voters overwhelmingly decided that safety, response time, personal service, and higher quality officers all outweigh costs in terms of the Atherton police department. Atherton's voters are willing to pay more to get more.

They decided that shortsightedly looking at costs is inappropriate. They decided that cost is not an issue, and cannot be an issue, in terms of how the Atherton police department is funded.

Peter Carpenter doesn't get this. I will repeat this post on the other item suggesting he should be an interim council member since this confusion makes him totally unsuitable for that position.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 26, 2013 at 9:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

None of the issues claimed by the above anonymous poster ( perhaps an Atherton police officer?) were in last November's ballot. Those of us with the right to vote voted for individuals to serve as OUR council members.

Facts are important - as are identities.

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Posted by Suspicious numbers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 26, 2013 at 10:04 am

The Atherton cops have decreed that they are exempt from budget and cost considerations in terms of their compensation negotiations.

Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.

All eyes will be on Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest, who received their money and endorsement in the past election.

We need an interim council member who can represent residents, not cops.

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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Atherton cops will say anything and do anything to keep their easy jobs protected. Time to contract out. Let them see if they could really be hired by a real police department.

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Posted by look north
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Y'all want a bunch of sheriffs occasionally cruising around like San Carlos???? Crazy. Call them up and ask a sheriff to bring in your mail, or babysit your alarms - can't wait to hear their response!

Will say though, since the sheriffs took over in SC, with the local PD essentially eviscerated, it's easier to drive down Laurel after a couple glasses of wine at their reasonable restaurants. Used to be a gauntlet - SCPD was famous for "pulling over" walkers if they thought they were stumbling!

Def a lot easier to get thru and out of there now.

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