Town Square

We were hoodwinked on tax

Original post made by Renee Batti, associate editor of The Almanac, on Mar 16, 2007

<i>The following guest opinion by Dee Tolles, former mayor of Menlo Park, was published in the Almanac's March 14 print edition:</i>

This story contains 413 words.

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Posted by A Convenient Untruth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2007 at 9:54 am

As posted on this very forum:

Web Link

Nicholas Jellins acknowledged the surplus on October 26, a few weeks before the election, but said he still supported Measure K. Though the information about the surplus was widely disseminated and discussed in October, the deposed council members and their supporters have suddenly developed amnesia and claim that they didn't know about it last November.

Unfortunately, Dee, Menlo Park residents are not quite as dumb as you seem to believe.

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Posted by miffed
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 16, 2007 at 10:27 am

Based on the information I was given. Boy! We sure keep hearing that phrase a lot don't we? I'll bet I'm not the only one that wants to know exactly WHO gave you and other endorsers that false info! 65 votes? What a joke! I agree! It should be rescinded!!

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Posted by UUT supporter
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Mar 17, 2007 at 2:36 pm

While I don't like to pay taxes when not necessary, I am not at all convinced that the surprise surplus can be expected in the future. For too many years, the city has deferred payments on infrastructure and has not accounted for substantial liabilities, such as for employee benefits post-retirement. What I am very unhappy about are the pot-holes in streets, lack of traffic enforcement, reduced library hours, and lack of any meaningful planning for El Camino and the commercial zone around 101. So I supported the tax to improve current service levels and to fund important work to improve the city's revenues, and I still do.

I am concerned that there have been so many shifting portrayals of the budget. I think public fund accounting and normal delays such as from the state confound the situation. Nevertheless, we should have an independent audit of where things really stand. The city should use the talent of the community with an advisory group (at least one).

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Posted by The UUT mystery
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 17, 2007 at 7:45 pm

UUT supporter, with all due respect, that is not the issue on the table here. There are other threads on this message board discussing the budget and the need (or not) for the tax.

The issue raised by this thread is "what did they know, and when did they know it?" The old posse is claiming they didn't know nuthin before the election. But they're on record as claiming otherwise prior to the election.

That said, I agree: we seriously need a real audit, and an updating of our budgeting software, which I understand is many generations behind the curve.

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Posted by UUT supporter
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Mar 18, 2007 at 7:12 am

UUT mystery, I agree that a real audit is in order. I am somewhat less interested in who knew what/when than in what the real numbers are so we can trust reports and forecasts. Of course it would be interesting to know the sequence of events in an election year with 3 Council seats at risk and a city manager seeking a promotion to a big county job.

An audit also should examine the adequacy of staffing and the software. I have heard that Ms. Augustine is very capable and quite respected but has insufficient support.

I made my comments because the original posting concluded that the UUT should be rescinded, not that there should be an audit.