Tonight: Atherton council and fire district hold joint meeting

Meeting starts at 6 p.m. in Holbrook-Palmer Park pavilion

Atherton's City Council and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board of directors will hold a joint meeting on Wednesday, April 29, to discuss issues that include finance and coverage.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Jennings Pavilion at Holbrook-Palmer Park, located at 150 Watkins Ave.

A report on distribution of the town's property taxes shows that the fire district gets considerably more revenue from residents' property taxes than Atherton does. While only a little more than 8 cents of each property tax dollar goes into to the town's general fund, nearly 14 cents goes to the fire district, according to the report. Local schools get even more, with the Menlo Park City School District receiving more than 16 cents of each Atherton property tax dollar and the Sequoia Union High School District receiving more than 15 cents.

The study session will also look at now the town's plans for traffic management and potential changes to El Camino Real could affect the fire district's primary response routes.

The fire board and council will also discuss emergency preparedness, the planned civic center and the possibility of creating a joint emergency operations center in the new police department offices.

Since the meeting is a study session, no official action will be taken by the council or fire board.

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5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 28, 2015 at 11:58 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Unfortunately the above article and the Town of Atherton both rely on a document regarding property tax allocation that fails to show its methodology and also has inaccurate figures.

This problem has been repeatedly pointed out to the Town but they prefer the HdL fairy tale.

Here is a much better explanation of the property tax allocation of the Fire District:

Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 29, 2015 at 9:24 am

Peter - no disrespect intended, but this report appears to have been crafted for you, not independent of you. That said, the report does paint the picture, but I still fail to see the solution. Please add on to your comments so we have a better idea of what the recommendation you propose.

2 people like this
Posted by Roy
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2015 at 7:34 pm

The Menlo Fire report appears to explain how we "got here", but does not justify the inequity in the allocation. Bottom line: the fire district gets a LOT of money because of the Prop 13 allocation.

Because Atherton has larger properties and enormous valuations, they fund a good chunk of the district. The result is a higher cost per capita for Atherton residents.

And, yes, it does seem the Menlo Fire report was crafted at Carpenter's request and comes off as defensive.

Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 3, 2015 at 7:59 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

FYI the Roy above is NOT Roy Thiele-Sardina.....Me

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 4, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" the fire district gets a LOT of money because of the Prop 13 allocation. "

All of these agencies started at the same point post Prop 13 as did the Fire District with a share of property tax revenues that exactly matched their relative pre Prop 13 revenue levels - most allowed their expenses to grow faster than their revenues.

The problem is that the Fire District is a well managed public agency that lives within its property tax revenues, has not added personnel which exceed its known revenues, budgets and funds for replacement of stations and apparatus, has funded reserves for future CalPERS assessments and for economic downturns, has low unfunded pension obligations and no parcel tax.

Other agencies who have not practiced this fiscal discipline look at the Fire District and apply the Willie Sutton Rule -"I rob banks because that is where the money is."

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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