The following letter by W.C. Brown was published in the Almanac's March 21 print edition:
I am extremely disappointed that the Menlo Park City Council implemented the utility users tax (UUT) at something other than zero for this first year.
The initiative last fall was sold to the public as being needed for "essential" city services because a significant budget deficit was projected. I was particularly impressed that the citizens of Menlo Park agreed to tax themselves to help eliminate the problem. Now, we find out that, rather than a deficit, a surplus is predicted. To collect and use these tax funds for purposes other than what voters intended is outrageous.
I don't know exactly what the "oath of office" for council members consists of, but I assume (hope) it includes some reference to "stewardship" of city assets, and some requirement for fiscal responsibility when it comes to collecting and spending others' (taxpayers') monies. As a matter of fact, I hope council members would be more prudent with city resources than they are with their own. The majority of council members must not see it that way.
Perhaps the biggest "disservice" this council action creates is the lack of credibility that future city councils may have to deal with. If another funding need arises in the future many voters may well remember how the council mishandled the UUT of 2006/2007.
Cotton Street, Menlo Park