Below is an Oct. 4 e-mail by Councilwoman Mickie Winkler to Menlo Park residents. Winkler is a candidate in the Nov. 7 Menlo Park City Council election.
When we came on City Council there was nothing but deficit and state take-aways on the horizon. Our car dealerships were no longer dealing. To sustain and improve the services that make Menlo Park a special place to live we developed and have been implementing a long-term income-generating plan.
It was immediately obvious that we needed to increase our revenue stream from businesses. Toward that end, we convened a 2-month-long business round table to better understand our problems, and we hired a business manager to reverse the "business toxic" legacy we learned that we had. The revenue generation plan includes.
1. Encourage construction of new hotels and upgrade those we have. Cities love hotels because they bring in 10% of the sales tax dollar. To get more hotel tax dollars we need to:
-- Make sure that the new Rosewoood hotel at I-280, which is projected to bring in $1.9 million in annual tax revenues, stays on schedule to open in 2008.
-- That the proposed hotel on 101 near Marsh goes forward expeditiously.
-- That the Stanford Park hotel expands, as planned, to add meeting space, so it can become a full-time, not just seasonal, facility.
-- That the other hotels in the Menlo-Park portion of El Camino Real have incentives to remodel. (Dave Johnson had us meet with them.)
2. Attract tax-generating businesses, especially in the business to business sector, east of 101. Menlo Park has an ideal location, and the rents in our primary business district (east of 101) are comparatively low.
However, we need to continue reforming our approval processes so it takes days not months for high-quality tax-generating businesses to get licensed here.
We need to commit, long-term, to the 4 big projects underway in this, our "cash cow" sector:
(Check the website at Web Link to see the impressive and productive reforms already made, and to learn more about the 4 projects underway)
3. Increase user fees, so that residential and commercial developers pay for the staff and construction costs they incur. Done.
4. Restore Pride and Prosperity to the heart of our town. Santa Cruz Avenue has two retail stores under construction. Even the new Ace Hardware store wants to expand.
On El Camino Real, where you still see blight, we see progress. There are 6 new developments in various stages of the planning pipeline, most of which will create environmentally blessed housing near public transportation and in walking distance of downtown. Our merchants like this too. We need to responsibly create places for our aging population to live -- and with it new retail space.
Fellow Residents, that's the income-generating side of the plan. (The cost-containment side is coming). If you'd like to participate -- or if you'd like a library or a playfield named after you :-) --just email me.
Thanks for hanging in 'til the end. Mickie