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Despite state's troubles, Menlo Park eyes balanced budget

Original post made on May 29, 2009

As the state of California struggles to find billions of dollars in budget cuts, the city of Menlo Park finds itself with a nearly balanced budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year. A council hearing on the budget is set for Tuesday night, June 2.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 29, 2009, 11:41 AM

Comments (10)

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Posted by D J Fowler
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I am amazed that the City Council can call this a balanced budget while excluding the funds for the downtown planning project! If we are drawing from the reserves, then it is not a balanced budget. There would be hope for a balanced budget if the Ouncil would stop approving funds for useless projects such as the Willows Traffic Study.

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Posted by melo menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm

tell em DJ the willows has been studied every decade, what do they think they will find, that they dont already know - thier will never be a wall between Menlo Park and EPA, so all the frightened white people afraid of crime in the Willows need to either move or learn how to deal with other cultures.

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Posted by Willows Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 29, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Fowler, pipe down - the budget situation in MP is pretty darn good given the global economic circumstances. And who are you to call the Willows Traffic study "useless"?

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Posted by Willows Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 29, 2009 at 2:52 pm

"Melo Menlo" - the traffic study has nothing to do with cultural issues (at least not for most of us who live on busy streets in the Willows), try having a small kid almost get plowed down by a big SUV going 50 mph on Gilbert. Stop signs, speed bumps and the like will help with safety issues which is what most of us care about, not cultural issues.

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Posted by my take
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I find the City Manager's proposed budget to be lousy. Yes he is trying to cover up the real deficit. He has really avoided taking the necessary steps to put the budget on a real course to be structurally sound. He has achieved balancing the budget by deferring planned capital expenses while not making the necessary cuts to staff.

Why do we need now an assistant City Clerk? Why do we need outreach via an old fashioned mailed news-letter, which costs a fortune, when we could just put this on the web? Why has Palo Alto gotten concessions from its Public Safety officers, and Menlo Park has not; indeed our officers just got a major boost in their salary.

Note the City re-did its master fee schedule and boosted fees by quite a lot, and yet the City is not even close to a balanced budget, and out into the future it is un-manageable.

The scheme seems to be, we will build out of this problem, by promoting more and denser growth; note his enthusiasm for the Bohannon project.

The country, the state and our city are really hurting. In Menlo Park we are cushioned by the reserve fund, previous councils managed to accumulate, but which has diminished by over 50% in real terms over the past 12 years or so. Just this last year, it was taken down by $12 million. Time to get real.

Just remember last year they projected a deficit of around $1 million. No council person thought that was going to be the real outcome -- indeed they all said it will turn out to be at least a balanced budget based on earlier history of projected budgets. Well they were wrong. They were really badly wrong. Until the late in the year correction, which was really nothing more then deferring needed projects until later, the deficit was gong to be a true $2 million.

Mayor Robinson took a lot of heat when he proposed raising the Utility tax rate. I don't favor that method, but this proposed budget is, just like they are doing in Sacramento, not realistic.

Time for this council to show some real leadership here.

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Posted by sad
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 31, 2009 at 3:09 pm

This guy above is one of about ten [portion removed] guys in Menlo Park who sit around complaining about this or that, oppose any type of progress, think they have the knowledge to talk finance when they do not, support new candidates every four years and then they turn on those candidates when they realize they are again, the same ten [portion removed] guys who oppose everything and therefore will never have true representation.

Look at this guy's facts above...

Unmanageable budgets (with no data to back that up) , a future Manhattan skyline (with nothing but his paranoia) and he uses two of the biggest economic collapses in history to somehow prove that past years the budgets were balanced better.

[Portion removed]

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Posted by Willows Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:05 am

Amen "Sad", those ten people you mention are doing nothing good for this city except obstructing necessary progress and improvement and bogging the city down with complaints. It's such a shame that the council feels so obligated to carry out the agendas of these folks.

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Posted by realist
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

my take is right. City staff grows unabated, as it is in the city manager's best professional interest to have as large a staff and budget as possible. I'm not sure what they all do, as any time a real project comes along (for example, El Camino), the city hires consultants.

The only reason the council approved a deficit budget last year was that they were told that the deficit was an illusion and would correct itself over the year. Wrong! Now they are going to approve a second year of eating into the reserves? When does this end?

Time for the council to do the right thing, make serious cuts in staff, ask remaining staff to take pay cuts (it's happening everywhere in private industry). That's how you balance the budget. You don't raise taxes during a recession/depression.

Complaining residents don't cost the city money. Unnecessary staff members do.

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Posted by sad
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm

You seem allergic to facts which means this debate is a waste of time.

Oppose your projects, criticize and rant and gather money to referend.

We know the pattern. The tired pattern that results in empty lots, rejected ideas and little to no progress at all.

I can only hope this council is on to you, because we are.

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Posted by hr
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Time for city manager Glen Rojas to move on. He's in over his head.

He failed when he didn't balance the budget. (However, the council did not require him to do so.)

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

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