Menlo Park council raises staff salaries at cost of $430K

Council OKs $113 million budget

The Menlo Park City Council passed a $113 million budget Tuesday and agreed to a higher pay for city employees that will cost about $430,000 the first year.

2016-17 Budget

The combined operating and capital improvement budget anticipates a surplus of about $3 million in the fiscal year starting July 1, with spending of $113 million and revenues of $116 million.

In the spending plan, $40.8 million has been set aside for capital improvements, including street resurfacing, water main replacements, downtown streetscape improvements and planning for park and recreation improvements.

Pay raises

The 148 city employees represented by the Service Employees International Union, local 521, and the 36 employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will all get at least a 2 percent salary increase, costing the city $278,600. In addition, some positions will get higher raises beginning July 10, resulting in an overall cost to the city of $430,400.

Those raises were recommended in a study by consultants Koff & Associates, which looked at the jobs and salaries of employees of the city of Menlo Park compared with other Silicon Valley cities. Overall, Menlo Park was about 0.5 percent above comparable cities. However, the pay ranges for some positions were substantially below comparable cities on the Peninsula, so the study recommended bringing those salary ranges up.

A total of 27 city positions will have their base salary range adjusted more than 2 percent to match the market rate.

Public works supervisors will have their base salary ranges increased from 7 to 15 percent, while salary ranges for accountants and management analysts will increase more than 9 percent.

Accountants will be eligible for a salary range of between $74,685 and $98,453 a year. A management analyst will have a salary range of $89,498 to $107,888 a year. Salary changes will go into effect July 10.

The city will cover the added costs in the coming fiscal year with the expected surplus in its operating budget, said Nick Pegueros, the city's administrative services director. The pay raises will not have an impact on the city's pension liability, since the pension calculations factor in a 3 percent annual increase, greater than the 2 percent increase that will take place, he said.

Ongoing costs associated with the pay raises in following fiscal years will be factored into the 10-year budget forecast, Mr. Pegueros said, and those costs fall within the expected surpluses for beyond the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Menlo Park will have 262 full-time equivalent positions, counting three new positions that will be added in the 2016-17 budget: one for community services, one for library community services, and one that will be split between administrative services and community services.

Facebook expansion

In other business, the council decided to keep the July 11 deadline for public comment on a draft environmental impact report on the Facebook expansion project.

In a letter to the council, Pam Jones, a Belle Haven resident, had asked for an extension in the comment period due to the concurrent release of draft environmental impact reports on two major projects – the city's general plan update as well as the Facebook expansion, both with "substantial impact on (the) human environment," she said.

The Facebook project involves the construction of three 75-foot-high buildings totaling more than a million square feet on the former TE Connectivity site near other Facebook operations on the east side of Menlo Park.

Small cells

The council decided to submit a letter of opposition to California Assembly bill AB 2788, which would give wireless telecommunications companies the right to build "small cell" wireless antennas and other structures in all zones of the city, and would require local governments to make sites available to install small cells.

Under the bill, an unlimited number of applications for small-cell facilities could be submitted to the city, and if they were not approved in 60 days, the permit would be considered "issued," according to the draft letter the council unanimously approved for Mayor Rich Cline's signature.

The bill, the letter says, "unnecessarily and unconstitutionally strips local authority over public property and shuts out public input and local discretion by eliminating consideration of the aesthetic and environmental impacts of 'small cells.'"

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5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" However, the pay ranges for some positions were substantially below comparable cities on the Peninsula, so the study recommended bringing those salary ranges up. "

Where there any positions that were substantially above comparable cities on the Peninsula and will those positions have their salary ranges frozen or reduced?

Who decide which cities are in the comparison pool? Is it just those that pay high salaries?

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

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