Atherton's City Council is scheduled to decide on Wednesday, July 20, if it wants to put a ballot measure substantially increasing the town's business license tax on the November ballot.
The proposed tax would charge those that do business in Atherton -- such as real estate companies, contractors, alarm companies and gardeners -- a business license tax of 25 cents per $100 of gross Atherton receipts.
The new tax is expected to bring in around $800,000 more each year than the existing tax, which is a maximum of $250 a year. To pass, the measure would need approval by a simple majority, or more than 50 percent, of votes cast.
City Manager George Rodericks told council members at a July 6 study session that the tax would be paid by those who conduct business in town. "This is a tax that doesn't actually affect the residents themselves," he said.
Council members asked at the study session to exempt Atherton residents with home occupations.
But council members said there might be reasons to not hurry to move the measure forward.
"I am concerned about forging on ahead and putting this on the November ballot without some sort of polling data (showing) whether the residents would understand this and whether this would pass," Mayor Elizabeth Lewis said. "I don't think we can get 51 percent."
Mayor Lewis said she also wants "to quantify the number of residents this is affecting."
Council member Mike Lempres also urged caution. "Rushing to do this would be a mistake," he said. "We should be aware of how the public is going to look at this."
However, other council members pointed out that waiting a year to put the tax on the ballot would mean the town would lose a year of revenue
The July 20 council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.
Also on the agenda is consideration of a neighborhood traffic management plan. If adopted, the plan will set out a series of steps that can be taken when neighborhoods express concerns about traffic. The plan is based on a similar Menlo Park plan.
None of the measures would divert traffic to other areas, and most of the measures would require the approval of a minimum number of nearby residents.