Atherton sees rising revenues, spending

Atherton officials are projecting robust revenues and a budget surplus for the 2014-15 fiscal year, prompting them to propose increased spending for some services, particularly in the police and public works departments.

The City Council will review preliminary figures from the town's number crunchers when it meets on Wednesday, May 21.

The staff report projects general fund revenues of $11.6 million -- even without factoring in revenue from the town's parcel tax and money that will almost certainly be arriving from a special state fund -- and $11.5 million in spending next fiscal year. The budget for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, had projected $10.8 million in revenue and $10.4 million in spending.

With higher-than-expected revenue this fiscal year, the council readjusted the budget after its June 2013 passage, allocating $2 million to pay down the town's unfunded post-employment benefits liability, and smaller amounts to increase maintenance in Holbrook-Palmer Park and along the public right-of-way, pay for a master plan for the civic center, boost code enforcement, and support the emergency preparedness program.

To read the staff report reviewing the preliminary budget, click here and go to item No. 21.

Also on the agenda: The council will revisit the question of whether to support a $2.5 million project to renovate the carriage house in Holbrook-Palmer Park; council members will take a second look at a proposal to cede some of the public right-of-way on Parker Avenue to property owners; and the council will discuss possible use of the Gilmore House in the park, which has for years been used as the town manager's residence but is currently unoccupied because current manager George Rodericks continues to live in his longtime home in Marin County.

One possible use: as accommodations for police officers at the conclusion of their shifts, especially those who must commute a long distance to and from work.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 94 Ashfield Road, in the Town Center.


Like this comment
Posted by Liars!
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 19, 2014 at 8:13 am

Lewis, Wiest and DeGolia promised during passage of the parcel tax that if it wasn't needed, some or al would be rebated to residents.

Now that there might be a surplus, they are trying to figure out ways to spend it rather than reduce the taxes as they promised. Specifically, giving the extra surplus to the police officers who paid for their campaigns.

Why am I not surprised?

Like this comment
Posted by keithw
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 19, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Liars, I am confused by your post, which I cannot seem to make sense of. Using a surplus to pay the unfunded liabilities for health care and pensions of retired workers is somehow a bad thing?? Oh, and maintaining the public right-of-way, clearly a sneaky move. This has nothing to do with more pay to police officers, as your post erroneously implies.

Like this comment
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Liars is a typical person who can't see the end of his/her nose. Paying down debt and maintain the town is beyond understanding.

Like this comment
Posted by Liars!
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 19, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Keith, read the article. The council wants to convert the city manager's house into a dormitory for police officers. This costs money. The fact is during the parcel tax campaign, the finance committee said the parcel tax was not needed because the town had funds without it. Lewis and Wiest argued that if that proved true, the tax would be abated. Now that this has occurred, where's the abatement? I also understand one of the new expenses is a large proposed raise for the city manager. Enough is enough.

Like this comment
Posted by Yeah!
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Paying down unfunded liabilities is a good idea. I'm glad the council is looking at wise ways to spend any additional revenues - there are many needs in Atherton.

Like this comment
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Next Wednesday evening the city council will consider whether or not to keep its promise, and abate the parcel tax to residents now that it's been confirmed it's not needed, or to figure out ways to spend it.

I urge all Atherton residents to attend and inform the city council that it's not their job to dream up ways to spend surplus money.

This money must be returned to the taxpayers, as PROMISED.

Like this comment
Posted by Liars!
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

The opposition group warned residents that this would happen (surplus, as predicted, would not be returned to residents, as promised).

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