Palo Alto Weekly

News - December 28, 2012

2012: The Year in 12 Numbers

23 million

The dollars that the city spent on employee pensions in fiscal year 2012. This is $4 million more than it had spent in 2011 and about $20 million more than in 2003.

22.1 million

The sales-tax dollars Palo Alto received in fiscal year 2012, a small increase from $20.7 million in 2011 and a significant bump from the recession low of $18 million in 2010. While other cities are still struggling with their budgets, the Great Recession appears to have greatly receded in Palo Alto.

260,000

The number of square feet in the four-building office complex proposed by developer John Arrillaga as part of his concept for a new "arts and innovation district" at 27 University Ave. in downtown Palo Alto. The number was later scaled down to 210,000.

400

The approximate number of Palo Alto residents who would be displaced if the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park shuts down, as proposed by the property owner.

94

Percent of respondents to the 2012 National Citizen Survey who rated Palo Alto's "quality of life" as "excellent" or "good."

62

The percentage of Palo Alto voters who rejected a measure on the 2012 ballot that would have allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to open shop in the city.

55

The retirement age for newly hired Palo Alto police officers and firefighters under the "3 at 55" pension formula the city had agreed to this year with its public-safety unions. Previously, the age was 50.

50

The height limit (in feet) for new developments in Palo Alto. It is also at the center of the city's top land-use dispute, with numerous developers looking to reach or exceed the height limit near the downtown Caltrain station and many residents arguing that surpassing the 50-foot barrier would ruin the city's character.

38

The average number of days it has taken Palo Alto's Development Center to issue a building permit over the past year. According to City Manager James Keene, this is a five-year low. In 2007, it took an average of 102 days to get a permit. The city had embarked in 2009 on a major effort to revamp and improve the Development Center in an effort to counter the notorious stigma of the term "Palo Alto process."

23

The percentage by which the number of full-time positions supported by Palo Alto's General Fund has decreased since 2003.

6

The number of candidates who ran for City Council this year — the smallest number since 1985. The prior council election, in 2009, saw 14 people vie for five seats.

1

The number of truly "new" members who will serve on the City Council in 2013. With four seats up for election this year, voters brought back incumbents Pat Burt and Greg Schmid, and returned past Mayor (and, more recently, Santa Clara County Supervisor) Liz Kniss to the dais, along with attorney Marc Berman — the only true newcomer. The 2009 election, by contrast, saw four new faces join the nine-member council.

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