The proposed utility rate increases and water surcharge are excessive. Seniors on fixed income and Social Security are already strained.
Will the Council pass the increases? It recently approved $225,000 for a consultant to determine if Palo Alto should continue using PASCO as a refuse hauler. That company provided good service for years. None on the highly paid staff could do that? Last week it approved $26,200 for a consultant to evaluate top management positions, which previous councils had done.
Those expenditures equal the average utility increases for 750 senior households. According to the June Avenidas newsletter, ages 60-74 represent the biggest active voting bloc in this country. Here the upper age limit is higher. Palo Alto seniors consistently vote, are politically savvy, and involved.
The city wants $50 million for a public safety building and $40 million for libraries. Will these pass? It depends on how angry voters are after getting the utility bills for another year, if rates increase as planned in 2008 and voters analyze their property taxes.
We question the legality of the "shell game" whereby the city uses the utility fund as a profit center for the general fund.
When voters perceive that its city isn't well run, finances aren't well managed and promises aren't kept, their only recourse to fight city hall is the ballot box. The council should tread carefully and not step on this awakening tiger's tail.