Atherton's City Council is considering adopting a set of "talking points" that make it clear that unless a number of concessions are made, Atherton will consider leaving the county library system before the town will share the library tax funds it generates.
The matter will be discussed at the council meeting on Wednesday, April 15, starting at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.
At an April 1 study session, council members discussed changes in the joint powers agreement being considered by the county library system's governing board. The changes could mean that some property tax funds that now go to Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley for library use in those towns be shared with the rest of the county libraries.
The first of the proposed talking points says that if the library tax fund issue "cannot be resolved in a reasonable way, the town will be forced to consider withdrawing from the library JPA to protect its fiduciary responsibility to local taxpayers."
Among other things, the talking points listed in a staff report ask that the town get written assurance that the library tax money the town
has already accumulated can be used to build a new library.
The document asks that other changes be made in the current joint power agreement to make it easier for Atherton to leave the system without a financial penalty, and that the town be allowed to spend all the library tax money it generates on its own library before it shares any with the rest of the system.
The talking points document also asks the the joint powers agreement be modified to more broadly define library services for which the tax funds can be spent. It suggests the definition include not only costs of operating a branch library; but also costs of maintaining and replacing branch library facilities, such as buildings, gardens, equipment or vehicles "used in connection with library services." It also suggests the definition include "costs associated with delivering library services," which some members of the city council have proposed doing electronically over a town-wide high-speed fiber optic internet system.
The staff report, including the talking points, is on the town's website.
The council will also consider what to do about four portable buildings currently housing the town's building and planning offices, that the town staff says are cramped and unsafe.
The town is getting ready to build a new civic center, but the portable buildings won't last another winter, says a report from Community Services Director Michael Kashiwagi. The trailers provide offices and storage for building, planning, public works, code enforcement and town arborist activities.
The report recommends renting new portables and moving them to Holbrook-Palmer Park where the permit center could continue to operate while the new civic center is being built.
Also on the agenda is consideration of spending up to $50,000 to pay staff and a consultant to develop a Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan that could identify traffic problems in different areas of Atherton and possible ways to lessen the problems.
The council will also discuss the town budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2015, focusing on the budgets for city departments including administration, finance, planning, building, public works and police. Budget discussions are also scheduled for May 6, when the capital improvement budget will be discussed; June 6, the final budget study session; and June 15, the final budget review and adoption.