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Palo Alto Still Lacks a Revenue Strategy

Original post made by Paul Losch, Community Center, on May 11, 2012

I have been concerned about this for a long time, and have written about it before.

There are too many examples over the last 20 or so years where revenue generating entities have left town, or chose not to come to town to operate. One conspicuous example is auto dealerships. Another is Hyatt Rickey's.

There have been some recent developments that are encouraging, but that is not enough.

We have all these committees, commissions (including the Parks and Rec Commission, of which I am a long time member) which rightly focus on the issues in their purview for Council to ultimately decide.

I suggest that the City needs a dedicated commission that concentrates of how to bring more revenue to Palo Alto. I mean no disrespect to the Chamber of Commerce, or staff in City Hall that support what is here right now.

And I don't think we entirely understand how many City services can or should be paid for. Children's Theater, the airport and Animal Services seem to be the popular "straw men," but to elevate it to more of policy level, just what fees and fee structures are indicated for the many wonderful services we have in Palo Alto?

The infrastructure task force recently completed a comprehensive report about what it will take to restore much of our long neglected roads, sidewalks, and facilities.

A good follow on would be to establish a revenue task force. There is more to it than tax levels, and I find tiresome comments that offer that polemic as the only question about how Palo Alto generates revenue.

A revenue task force could do much to spell out just what has been done, what has been lost, what is to be gained, and how Palo Alto goes about doing it. Hey, I'd love to be on such a working group!

And, we need a stronger revenue focus on an on-going basis at City Hall. I generally hesitate to use for profit organizations as analogies, but the City of Palo Alto needs a stronger "sales force."

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