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Atherton: What's next after parcel tax defeat?

Original post made on Nov 15, 2017

After voters Nov. 7 rejected the renewal of a parcel tax that brought $1.86 million a year to Atherton for its police, roads and drainage projects, town officials say they will have to take a close look at those aspects of the town's budget and decide how to proceed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 12:00 AM

Comments (7)

Posted by Held at gun point
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 15, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Atherton residents will be held at gun point in June 2018. Your current tax dollars that you spend will be spent on a 52,000,000 vs your drainage, schools, safety..... What is missing from this picture. Council doesn't care about you your safety or your schools.... They are sending a clear message putting a gun to your head saying pay up pay more or you will suffer. WOW

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 15, 2017 at 8:59 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Town's Audit and Finance Committee received a report yesterday that property tax revenues for 2017/18 will increase by 7.4% and a budget estimated of growth of 6-7% for 2018-19 Is forecasted.

Posted by Trust?
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 15, 2017 at 9:26 pm

And yet, knowing those numbers were coming in, the council member posting "Trust US" on these boards lobbied strenuously to get the parcel tax passed rather than admitting Sandy's opposition group was 100% correct.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2017 at 6:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The voters expect the Town to continue to fund its current operations first and foremost and then to apply the remaining available funds to the Town Center.

It is ludicrous to suggest that capital improvements and police services depend on another parcel tax.

The increases in property taxes have and will exceed the loss from the expiring parcel tax.

To even suggest that essential services will be cut before cutting other expenditures is the Washington monument strategy used by the Park Service whenever its budget is threatened -"if you cut our budget then we will close the Washington monument."

Posted by Trust?
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 16, 2017 at 8:19 am

@Peter, the basic argument seems to be that a (slim) majority of residents want the Town Center, so de facto that takes priority over roads, drainage and safety based on the last parcel tax vote.

These council members are twisting votes into comporting with their agenda. The opposition argument was clearly funds exist for capital improvements and safety. The opposition argument won. The thesis has now been verified by the data you cite above.

Common sense would dictate that the default expenditures – the ones that have always been around – would be taking priority over the special expenditure of the Town Center. While a slim majority of voters approved its being built with town funds, the only way to reconcile all the votes is the residents expect a smaller version to be built that allows the town to live within its means, without parcel taxes, and certainly without debt.

Otherwise the parcel tax would have passed. Isn't it obvious?

Posted by Just the facts
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 16, 2017 at 2:25 pm


I agree. The city property tax revenue increases have and will equal out or exceed the parcel tax revenue. However, I remember that the city was clear that surplus in the past as well as projected surplus revenue over the next 3 years would fund the town center given that there was a lack of sufficient donations. That was the rationale for the 3 year proposal. After the town center project, there would really be no need for the continuation of the parcel tax. However, over the next 3, to allow the projected property tax surplus to be used for the town center, the parcel tax would allow for continuity of projects.

That’s why I said, I am more than happy to pay $2,250 for a new city hall and police station and continuing capital projects. At least for the next 3 years. After that, I would vote no. That made me feel like I too contributed to the town center without having to make a formal donation.

Eyes open.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 16, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would have no problem with the Town using revenue bonds to fund part of the cost of the new Town Center PROVIDED that the Council made an iron clad commitment not to use a future parcel tax to repay those revenue bonds.

In my ideal world the Town would have been funding a depreciation account for the past decade to fund the totally predictable replacement of the existing buildings - but that did not happen.

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