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Menlo Park council looks for ways to plug $1M hole in city budget for coming year

Original post made on Jun 14, 2023

Menlo Park is facing a nearly $1 million deficit in its annual budget for the coming fiscal year, thanks in part to a lawsuit over its utility tax and the need to staff up the new community center in the Belle Haven neighborhood.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 14, 2023, 4:39 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 14, 2023 at 8:13 pm

Observer is a registered user.

How about starting with hacking away at some of the city employee retirement benefits which are very much out of line with the vast majority of the private sector.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 15, 2023 at 7:17 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


A good idea, unfortunately, not workable. You cut retirement benefits and none of the other Bay Area municipalities do it too and we lose our employees to them. One only need look at the disaster San Jose created for itself when it tried to cut police pensions. Officers fled San Jose for other cities in the region that would continue their retirement benefits. The city became and remains seriously understaffed with police and the crime rate soared.

The true answer is program cuts. The other thing the city should consider is putting the utility tax on the ballot. Since they can't collect it anymore, that is where part of this deficit is coming from. That, and the fact they have to pay back the taxes they collected illegally after the first utility tax expired. Voters approved it once to avoid program cuts, they're likely to do it again.

Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 15, 2023 at 9:17 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

California needs propositions to stop the endless cycle of public employee salary and retirement increases. Otherwise, what Menlo Voter says will happen…until every city goes bankrupt in this twisted game of musical chairs!

Posted by Allied Arts
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 15, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Allied Arts is a registered user.

This problem was completely anticipatable and will only worsen with time. What's our expenditures for police per capita relative to other local communities? We should start cutting the police budget, reducing the pensions, and reducing overtime. I disagree that people will flee to nearby communities because this belt-tightening is going to happen all over the Bay Area. It was never sustainable here nor anywhere else and this million dollar deficit is the canary in the coal mine.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 15, 2023 at 8:48 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Allied Arts:

Again, ask San Jose how that worked out for them. Not well. There is no evidence of belt tightening going on in the areas of pensions anywhere in the bay area, especially where police and fire are concerned.

Posted by ln
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 16, 2023 at 12:39 pm

ln is a registered user.

Police and Fire salaries, benefits and pensions seem to be on an endless and unsustainable uptick. Programs need to be cut, salaries and benefits need to be pared back to match private sector rates. We can't continue raising taxes and fees indiscriminately. Otherwise people will continue to flee the Bay Area and California in general. Enough is enough. Learn to cut back. Learn to live within your already bloated budgets. Otherwise you (government) will be killing the Golden Goose (your heavily taxed citizenry).

Posted by Menlo 2024
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 16, 2023 at 6:34 pm

Menlo 2024 is a registered user.

Outsource fire and police......

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 17, 2023 at 7:35 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Menlo 2024:

That is not a solution. Whoever you outsource to will have to pay pensions and they certainly aren't going to not charge for the cost of those. Cost will be virtually the same with a small savings in combining some administrative costs.

Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 20, 2023 at 2:26 pm

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

True it did not work out for San Jose, but Menlo Park doesn't have the violent crime that San Jose does. I have to believe that the MPPD beat is probably one of the easiest in the Bay Area, and I'm sure when the potential to put your life on the line is measured against traffic stopping minorities and noise complaints there's a lot of wiggle room.

Posted by Menlo Lifestyle
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 20, 2023 at 2:38 pm

Menlo Lifestyle is a registered user.

According to the 21-22 published city budget: "City Council approved an increase in BMR funding to MidPen Housing’s 1300 Willow Road project from $6.7 million to $9.331 million for the development of 140 units of affordable housing." Really? Over 2.5 million of our tax dollars to FUND people's housing. That's just one project. And they're gonna come to us in the fall and raise taxes. Nope.

Posted by kbehroozi
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 20, 2023 at 4:40 pm

kbehroozi is a registered user.

@Menlo Lifestyle, the BMR housing fund isn't funded by taxes – it's a separate special revenue fund. Developers pay into it because development creates a need for BMR housing. The city then uses those funds to pay for BMR development (or acquire BMR parcels). They can't use those funds for anything other than BMR housing.

You can read more about it here if you're so inclined.
Web Link
Web Link

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 20, 2023 at 7:24 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Menlo Lifestyle:

Clearly you haven't spent much if any time in Belle Haven. If you think the MPD officers are just hanging out and "traffic stopping minorities" I suggest you go on a ride along and see what the officers ACTUALLY do rather than retaining your less than informed opinion.

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