Losing the funding Atherton received from its annual parcel tax will have a "significant impact" on the town’s ability to complete capital projects over the next three to four years, City Manager George Rodericks says in a report prepared for the Nov. 15 City Council meeting.
The report says 80 percent of this year's parcel tax revenues went to capital improvements and the rest to a school resource officer and a traffic officer.
The civic center is the "most important capital project" on the town's horizon, the report says. Except for a council-mandated reserve fund of 35 percent of its operating budget, all current and projected surplus funds through the 2020-21 fiscal year are dedicated to the civic center, the report says.
The town's general fund "may be able to absorb the $372,000 loss for police services (but) it cannot absorb the loss of $1,488,000 per year for capital projects without jeopardizing the integrity and success of the Civic Center," the report says.
A possible solution would be to put off parts of the project. The council designated a new council chamber and landscaping as possible "deduct alternatives " items in the approved plans that could be postponed if bids are higher than anticipated. Those items could reduce the cost by $1.2 million.
Even if the bids aren't high and the two items are removed from the project, it will make up for less than a year of the parcel tax, the report says.
Mr. Rodericks' report says that once the civic center is completed, the town should have approximately $2 million a year to spend on capital improvement projects. However, he says, that would mean paying for capital improvements with money the town had been using to pay down long-term liabilities for things such as pensions and workers compensation.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the town's council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road.
Also on the agenda:
● With the planned retirement of Steven Tyler, the town's public works superintendent, the council is being asked to approve ending the agreement with Interwest Consulting Group to supply a town engineer. A combination public works director/city engineer would be hired. The staff report by Deputy City Manager Theresa Della Santa also suggests changing the city arborist job into park manager/city arborist and changing an associate engineer to a senior engineer/maintenance manager. After factoring in the savings from ending the contract and the differences in salaries and benefits, the changes would save the town nearly $90,000 a year.
● Denial of a claim made against the town over an early August incident in which a branch on a tree at Menlo College fell and injured several people attending a company party. The incident did not happen on town property, the report recommending denial of the claim says.
●A decision on whether to allow a donation that would transform one of the Holbrook-Palmer Park tennis courts to a clay court. Clay tennis courts have higher maintenance costs and use a lot of water, but the report says the town could charge more for using the courts to make up for the costs.
More information about effect of the loss of the parcel tax on the town's budget will be presented to the council at its Dec. 6 study meeting.