Menlo Park's assessed property value up 12.5 percent

City had highest assessed property value growth in San Mateo County in 2015

The assessed value of property in Menlo Park grew 12.5 percent in 2015, a faster rate than that of any other city in San Mateo County, county assessor Mark Church announced on June 23.

Overall the assessed value of property in the county, upon which property taxes are based, rose 7.6 percent in 2015, with an 8.2 percent rise in Atherton, a 6.9 percent rise in Woodside and a 4.5 percent rise in Portola Valley.

Mr. Church said the county's property tax roll has increased by 35.5 percent since 2010.

While Menlo Park's percentage increase in assessed value was more than its 2014 increase of 11.4 percent, in other local communities the rate of growth actually fell slightly from the previous year.

In Portola Valley the rate of increase had been 7.23 percent in 2014 but 4.5 percent in 2015. In Atherton the 2014 increase was close to 9 percent, but fell to 8.2 percent in 2015. In Woodside the rate was nearly identical — 6.96 percent in 2014 and 6.92 percent in 2015.

Mr. Church said the property assessment roll is the assessed value of all properties as of January 1 each year and reflects any changes in ownership, new construction and changes in value from the previous January 1.

Commercial and residential properties make up the secured tax roll, which is 95 percent of the tax-roll total. Five percent of the roll is unsecured, and is made up of business and personal property and leased government property.

Property tax, which is shared among government agencies and special districts in the county, is approximately 1 percent of the county's assessed value, or $1.91 billion. Mr. Church said about 45 percent of that property tax goes to schools, 22 percent to the county, 17 percent to cities, 9 percent to special districts and 7 percent to former redevelopment agencies.

Menlo Park now has the fourth highest assessed property value in San Mateo County, at $15.06 billion. Ahead of Menlo Park in value are South San Francisco ($16.4 billion), Redwood City ($20.6 billion) and San Mateo ($22.6 billion).

Mr. Church said the county's strong economy has several factors that are expected to continue, including low unemployment, a strong real estate market and substantial new commercial development.

"Once again, San Mateo (County) has proven to be one of the strongest real estate markets in the state, with substantial increases in real estate values throughout the county," said Mr. Church.

He said the county's median home price was $1.3 million in April, according to the California Association of Realtors; that's the second-highest in the state after San Francisco County.

The county's 3 percent unemployment rate has been the lowest in the state for two years in a row, he said, which helps drive demand for housing and commercial space.

Mr. Church said the county has 2 million square feet of new commercial projects that are 80,000 square feet or larger coming to market in 2016, "with many more projects under way or nearing completion."

Growth is expected to continue in the county, he said, with approximately 33 million square feet of commercial development in the pipeline, based on current construction and pending permits.

One thing that factored less than usual in the rise in assessed values was the annual increase allowed on properties that do not change hands or have new construction. While the maximum amount of the annual increase in assessed value for such properties is 2 percent, for 2015, the increase was only 1.01 percent, the amount the California Consumer Price Index rose in that year.


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2 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 24, 2016 at 8:17 pm

And when values go down we'll reduce those city salary increases, right?
Yeah, right.....

42 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Jun 24, 2016 at 10:08 pm

12.5%...well, this is just another example that the property tax increases should be more than enough income for mpcsd.

More proof that the public was right, 5 parcel taxes was an overreach and measures a and c were rightly rejected

4 people like this
Posted by Not value - just assessed value
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2016 at 9:09 am

Under Prop. 13, real property in California is reassessed when there is a change in ownership or new construction. Increases in the price (aka "value") of real estate is another matter. Sounds like Menlo Park has more newcomers than other cities in the county.

2 people like this
Posted by please sip, it's a fine old whine
a resident of Woodside: Family Farm/Hidden Valley
on Jun 26, 2016 at 9:39 am

>> Sounds like Menlo Park has more newcomers than other cities in the county.

Or new buildings.

Look at South City, ahead of MP. Ditto RWC and San Mateo. Lot of difference between an 'old' downtown where values are not sold/reassessed (damn near) forever, and a new business park coming on the rolls.

1 person likes this
Posted by Not value - just assessed value
a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2016 at 5:52 am

So was there "a new business park" that came on the rolls in Menlo Park? As to the school district, I assume it is one of those districts that gets more money because of increased assessment. I am not a MP resident. But as to government - in every area and at every level - the job of taking and wasting your money is never done.

Like this comment
Posted by please sip, it's a fine old whine
a resident of Woodside: Family Farm/Hidden Valley
on Jun 27, 2016 at 9:24 am

"But as to government - in EVERY area and at EVERY level - the job of taking and wasting your money is NEVER done."

May I interest you in the new libertarian tax-free paradise called Kansas? Just call yourself a business and stop paying taxes!

Low taxes, reduced government in a grand social experiment. Maybe when you move there, you can get those pesky governmental-overreach stop signs off all the roads, along with eliminating the police and the court system, etc..

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 27, 2016 at 10:14 am

@Not value - just assessed value:

"So was there 'a new business park' that came on the rolls in Menlo Park?"

Building 20 of Facebook was finished last year - probably the largest single building in Menlo Park. The property was owned by Facebook more than a year ago, but I suppose the "improvements" got reflected in the assessment.

Also Facebook purchased a few neighboring properties, intended for future redevelopment.

9 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 27, 2016 at 10:56 am

Stu Soffer is a registered user.

The table needs an addition column indicating the number of parties that changed hands during the year, triggering a 'market rate' reassessment. This could account for the differences in increase for the cities.

One question in the table concerns Facebook/Sun campus which was bought by the Wisconsin Teachers Retirement System some years ago: FB leased it from WSTRS. I believe WSTSR recently sold the property to another entity, so did this drugget a reassessment or not?

Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 27, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Ah, that's right, Stu - Facebook originally leased the old Sun campus, now it owns it.

Web Link

31 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 28, 2016 at 7:34 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hopefully local agencies that benefit from these unusual property tax revenue increases are wise enough both to not build them into their base budgets and to save some for the inevitable future revenue decline.

8 people like this
Posted by Tim
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 28, 2016 at 9:49 am

Population of South City is 66K, Redwood City 101k, San Mateo 88k - Menlo Park 33k. MP is much smaller, yet a juggernaut at $15 billion assessed value.

8 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 28, 2016 at 11:49 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Does anyone remember Paul Gann? Remember Prop. 4 in 1979 which followed Prop. 13.
It established the Gann Expenditure Limit.
Web Link & Web Link) MP surely must be collecting revenue above that limit and should be returning it to property taxpayers.

12 people like this
Posted by Maureen Robertson
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 28, 2016 at 9:21 pm

It's hilarious this article is on the same print page as the one about Facebook allegedly ruining everything. It's the fake hippies/environmentalists who've prevented any substantial new housing being built in the last 30 years who are really to blame!

If the Almanac actually cared about news, every time someone said "I'm a (long ago, possibly failed) Planning Commissioner slash City Councillor who's lived in Menlo Park for 20 years", you'd report the public data on how much they paid for their property, how many hundreds of percent it's appreciated **while also offering them a place to live**, and then also how much of a public subsidy Pro 13 gives them on taxes". A real public benefit would be capturing some of that value!

6 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jun 29, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

How about capturing some of the assessed value of the San Mateo County Community College District housing for faculty and staff, which breezed through their EIR's? Web Link Here's their tax bill for 1 Olive Court: Web Link
If those were sold on the open market they would probably fetch $800K each times 60 units is $48 Million dollars which should be on the assessment rolls.

Other school districts are considering similar housing. These housing subsidies don't show up in faculty and staff compensation.

18 people like this
Posted by Brown Eyed Girl
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 29, 2016 at 9:23 pm

Brown Eyed Girl is a registered user.

On March 10, 2016, the MPCSD presented the 2015/2016 Second Interim Budget. This budget was announced prior to the May special mail in ballot for Measures A and C parcel taxes. In that budget, the CBOO estimated a 5% increase in parcel tax revenue (prior year actual increase was 9%) for 2016/2017 and a 3% parcel tax revenue increase for 2017/2018.

Subsequent to the failure of Measures A and C, the San Mateo County Assessors office projected an increase of assessed property tax values of 6.24% (more than double the budget announced prior to the May vote) and now we learn, assessed property values are up 12.5%.

At the June 13, 2016 MPCSD board meeting, the Board approved the 2016/2017 budget and also approved a further 2.70% CPI increase on all existing parcel taxes.

So regardless of whether or not Measures A and C passed, the District still has a means by which they can grow their revenue without having to get taxpayer approval.

There is a major disconnect if the MPCSD keeps saying they are broke and they need more money when the facts show the revenues have increased substantially. Looks like the public should have greater involvement and engagement in the budget.

7 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 29, 2016 at 10:10 pm

OH, but what about the Village Character? How will we preserve our thatched roofs, muddy roads rutted by oxen carts, and the congenial 'howdy neighbor' we all exchange in the Village square dancing hall? How to do that when we're all now the 1% because of those pesky property prices?

Let's all grow up and become a real town, with a real downtown, housing that spans all social strata, businesses that flourish, and some investment in infrastructure rather than just complaining about it and adding to the City staff. We need to start building now that we're the fanciest community in the lower 48!

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 28, 2017 at 4:56 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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

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