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Town Square

Mayor warns residents about city finances

Original post made by Bill D'Agostino, Palo Alto Weekly reporter, on Jun 13, 2006

Shortly after the Palo Alto City Council adopted a budget with a $1.4 million projected surplus, Mayor Judy Kleinberg issued a dire warning.

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Posted by Very Tas
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 13, 2006 at 7:55 pm

One of the things we need to look into - among other things - is the possibility of sharing service provision with neighboring municipalities.

Fire, police, libraries, street cleaning, park maintenance, etc. etc. fall under this category. Most communities on the Peninsula - like Palo Alto - are challenged to keep revenue up, while controlling costs.

Why not try some cooperative municipal ventures? This will require courage, reaching out, and authentically informing the public and other stakeholders (city staff, etc.) of the consequences, and opportunities.

Why not look into combining our fire and police service, as Sunnyvale does? It's a change that could be phased in, slowly. The same goes for other city institutions.

Another thing we need to be doing is looking for ways to dramatically increase the economic vitality of our REGION, from which Palo Alto will benefit directly.

We are connected to neighboring municipalities in ways that absolutely compel the kind of cooperative diligence that I'm suggesting here. We _must_ get these efforts going.

For instance, when WalMart builds a store in Mountin View, it has ripple effects in neighboring communities. We need to begin to build bridges.

That said, we might look into bringing in someone(s) who understands how to effectively discover and execute these opportunities.

Is this a job for a municipal 'development' team? That's a hard question, especially when one considers that inter-municipal ventures will mean occasional _reductions_ in staff, or structural change within some institutions.

Perhaps this is something best left to an "in-between" player who understands how to discover, uncover, negotiate and execute opporunity.

We also need to do a better job at not only retaining retail, but increasing the _diversity_ of retail. Palo Alto is in danger of becoming far too one dimensional in its retail offerings.

Lastly, we need to do a far better job of being _proactive_about our relationship with Stanford University. Our resepective communities have a lot to offer each other; we have to learnn to maximize and leverage those opportunties in ways that have escaped us in the past.