Menlo fire district purchases reduce revenue for local agencies | April 25, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

Almanac

News - April 25, 2018

Menlo fire district purchases reduce revenue for local agencies

by Barbara Wood

In less than a year, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District has spent more than $19 million on real estate. Combined with other district property purchases made since 2006, the spending adds up to $28.6 million.

This story contains 1754 words.

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Comments

17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There seems to be some very selective reporting here.

For example, what about the properties owned by Menlo Church and its Foundation, by the Schmidt Foundation, Stanford University and the County of San Mateo to just name a few tax exempt agencies/entities that have taken property off the tax rolls?


10 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 24, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Jennifer Bestor is a registered user.

You bring up an interesting issue, Peter, of all the tax-exempt entities that remove properties from the tax rolls. Palo Alto Unified walked into a nightmare a few years ago when the Santa Clara Controller informed them of upcoming property tax roll increases. PAUSD granted teacher raises on the strength of these revenue expectations. The SC Controller belatedly informed them that the new construction was predominately at Stanford and would not actually generate new revenues. PAUSD then had to use the proceeds of a parcel tax to cover the raises. Ouch. Where does a 500-pound gorilla sit? Wherever it wants.


19 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 24, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Perhaps it is time to revisit the state and federal tax codes regarding nonprofits. If the benefit from local, state and fed services and protections then they should be paying taxes. They benefit from an educated populace so they should also be paying public school taxes preschool through university.

And some nonprofits are just too wealthy - Guide Dogs for the Blind, numerous SPCAs. Orgs like NRA don't need or deserve nonprofit status. And some universities have too much money and donations while others which serve distressed groups and communities have nothing.

Some major metropolitan museums, orchestras, operas etc are too damn wealthy existing to a great extent to serve the few who can afford the price of admission and the major donors who enjoy attending the gala events while enjoying large personal tax writeoffs.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 24, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Jennifer and Whatever - Yes, it would be great if a responsible journalist looked at ALL the tax exempt properties owned by the cities, special districts, school district and non-profit entities and compared those holdings to the demands and contributions which those entities make to the community.

Unfortunately that would probably require time and resources that may not exist.


11 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 24, 2018 at 8:14 pm

This is a complete joke. This article was written with the motivation to discredit the fire district in the purchasing these parcels. What a great idea to expand services, keep up with the growing demands of public safety in our community, and prepare for future demands of public safety regarding, equipment, facilities and personnel issues.

Too bad the Almanac has resorted in bias reporting.I think I'll stop paying for this media......wait, it's for free. A good source to line my bird cage and use to clean up pet waste.


17 people like this
Posted by Real News
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 25, 2018 at 5:03 am

Why is it not in the public interest to disclose the impact of the government purchasing real property?

Though it might well be good policy to invest in these properties, it does have consequences for other government agencies which rely on the tax revenue generated by the parcels.

Good reporting.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 25, 2018 at 7:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion."

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 25, 2018 at 7:51 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

My two favorites are the Community College housing at Canada and the MROSD open space land.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 25, 2018 at 9:46 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

All news reports are slanted. They always have been.


13 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2018 at 11:15 am

"Perhaps it is time to revisit the state and federal tax codes regarding nonprofits...And some nonprofits are just too wealthy ... And some universities have too much money"

I agree with this 100%.

For example, while Stanford may meet the technical definition of qualifying for non-profit status...come on let's be real, they rake in boatloads of cash.

All entities that own property should pay property taxes, and that includes schools, non-profits, hospitals, etc. These entities that currently don't pay property taxes can write the property taxes off as business expenses, so it's not like this will put an unreasonable burden on these groups; they eventually get much of it back.

But the pass-through of those dollars through the tax infrastructure is tremendously helpful, even if those dollars eventually end up back into the hands of those same groups.

Using the Great Recession as an example, Congress handed bailout money to banks/financial-institutions to stablize our financial infrastructure and to help create some liquidity in the real estate market. What did the banks do???? They sat on the money.

Instead, that money should have been handed out to pay down mortgage debt for homeowners; it still would have made it into the hands of the banks, but those same dollars would have provided relief to underwater homeowners too. A classic "two birds with one stone."

Bottom line: Stanford, MPCSD, Las Lomitas, Sequoia Union, MPFPD, Atherton, Menlo Park, etc should all be paying property taxes, for everyone's benefit and especially their own.


13 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 25, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"All entities that own property should pay property taxes,"

Interesting idea. The Town of Atherton and the City of Menlo Park each own far more tax exempt property than does the Fire District - why is that not the subject of this article?

" Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion."


8 people like this
Posted by Barbara Wood
Almanac staff writer
on Apr 25, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Barbara Wood is a registered user.

This article was about recent purchases of real estate by the fire district. If you know of another agency we cover that has recently purchased real estate, please let us know.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 25, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Wood - recent purchases? You have to be kidding!

1231 Hoover St., Menlo Park, acquired in July 2008

2299 Capitol Ave., East Palo Alto, acquired in April 2008

170 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, acquired in April 2008

2293 Capitol Ave., East Palo Alto, acquired in June 2006

[Portion removed]


10 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2018 at 7:02 am

Peter they are recent as compared to the life of the fire district. Very appropriate for the article. Me thinks your knickers get a bit tight whenever anyone criticizes or even comments about your beloved fire district.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 7:49 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story"

How much land is owned by each of these entities within the geographical area covered bt the Almanac and what would be the property taxes if those entities were not exempt?

City of Menlo Park
Town of Atherton
County of San Mateo
West Bay Sanitary District
Elementary School Districts
High School District
Menlo School
Menlo College
Sacred Heart School
Stanford University
Veterans Administration
Schmidt Family Foundation
Various churches and their related foundations

How much housing space has been taken up by such non-public uses as the Circus Club and the Sharon Heights Club and are those properties assesses at their highest and best use?


6 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2018 at 10:08 am

Those knickers are getting tighter Peter. The press has an obligation to present the facts as related to the topic they are reporting on. There is no obligation to bring up ancillary facts which are well removed from the timeline they reporting. Of all the entities you mentioned only Las Lomitas School District acquired existing housing for their function as the fire district did. I am unsure about Seq HS District's plans for new HS.


4 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2018 at 10:27 am

Peter point of info please. Of all the entities you mentioned which have contracts for paying the fire district for coverage? As is the case with Stanford and the City of Palo Alto. Thanks in advance.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 26, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Fire District receives NO property taxes or payments for service from any of the entities (except for a fee for service coverage contract with SLAC):

City of Menlo Park
Town of Atherton
County of San Mateo
West Bay Sanitary District
Elementary School Districts
High School District
Menlo School
Menlo College
Sacred Heart School
Stanford University
Veterans Administration
Schmidt Family Foundation
Various churches and their related foundations


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