Proposed Atherton budget foresees a $5 million surplus

Council will consider amount of parcel tax at June 1 meeting

Although Atherton's budget is solidly in the black, city staff is recommending levying the full amount of the town's parcel tax to pay for upcoming street and drainage projects. Atherton's City Council meets Wednesday, June 1, to discuss the budget and parcel tax, starting at 3 p.m.

The meeting will be in the town's council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.

A report on the budget from Finance Director Robert Barron shows the town is in healthy financial condition, and in fact is projected to end up with a $5 million surplus even after putting $4.7 million into reserves.

A little over $12 million in general fund spending is projected, with $13.4 million in general fund revenues.

But the town has a five-year capital improvement budget with $44 million in identified projects, ranging from the new civic center (a majority of which must be paid for with donations) to drainage, street and park projects.

Mr. Barron has recommended the town ask for the maximum parcel tax, which brings in $1.86 million each year, to help pay for those capital improvements.

The current parcel tax was approved by the voters in 2013 and is scheduled to expire at the end of June 2018. It is $750 a year for homes on lots of between one-half and two acres.

While in the past the town spent about 60 percent of its parcel tax revenue on the police department, two years ago the council reduced the percentage going to police expenses to 20 percent because of the number of capital improvement projects that had been identified in recent master plans on drainage, park, and bike and pedestrian needs. The town spends about $1 million each year on road maintenance.

Mr. Barron has recommended that 80 percent of the parcel tax money again go to capital improvements this year.

The council on Wednesday will be discussing but not voting on the items on the agenda.


Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 31, 2016 at 10:21 pm

Yeah! Keep making those much needed capital improvements and support the parcel tax, one of the best managed taxes that exist.

3 people like this
Posted by New resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 1, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Los Altos is in the process of undergrounding power lines to eliminate the unsafe and unsightly telephone pole/relic of the past. I would be pleased to see a portion of our surplus devoted to this kind of improvement, particularly on well-traversed, narrow streets.

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