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Palo Alto sees good news on financial horizon

Original post made on Dec 18, 2012

Strong local sales, a sizzling housing market and recent labor concessions from City Hall employees have given Palo Alto's elected leaders plenty of reasons to cheer as they head into the holiday season.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 9:27 PM

Comments (7)

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Posted by parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm

good news? awesome - then by all means lets find a way to stuff more people in, maybe we can bring traffic to a total and complete standstill.

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Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Wise decision by the council to revise the forecast.

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Posted by Ernesto USMC
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm

"Between 2003 and 2013, the city's expenditures on salaries and benefits have gone up by 24 percent, despite a major reduction in staffing levels. Pensions alone have increased nearly 10-fold, from about $2.4 million in 2003 to more than $24 million this year."

This says it all. Improving revenue will serve as a very short lived band-aid if the council doesn't have the courage to stand up to the public employee unions who have dragged the city into this mess. Unfortunately, Price, Sheppard, Kniss, and very likely Berman are likely to continue to view the public as a cash cow for their special interest benefactors. We need the rest of the council to take a very courageous stand.

Meaningful pension reform (or outsourcing if the unions manage to stop the process) should be priority one.

The Utility Users tax should be repealed as well, since it causes a structural conflict of interest. The city leadership is supposed to oversee ratepayer interests, but with the UUT being paid directly into the general fund, the city has an interest in rising rates that directly contradicts their supposed role as ratepayer advocates. Gail Price and company would be more than happy to have utility rates continue to rise 20% per year (in this time of record cheap natural gas prices strangely enough) so that her union benefactors can keep their six figure pensions.

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Posted by Solon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2012 at 11:49 pm

glad to see NO NEW TAXES are needed or on the horizon.

Palo Alto Government is DROWNING in MONEY and SPEND SPEND SPEND is the mantra.

Each year, there should be less spent than the previous year

Someone, PLEASE ASK COUNCIL to eliminate ALL pension benefits and ALL medical Let people take responsibility for THEMSELVES with their OWN MONEY

And PAY GOOD EMPLOYEES MORE THAN NOW so they can afford their own medical and pension. Let the worse 5 % go every year.

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Posted by RT
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Oh, no.....every time a good budget forecast is given, the unions come out looking for more money and concessions.
It is CRTICAL for the council to stand tough and continue to find ways to reduce the future medical/pension costs.

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Posted by res
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Reak estate? Its all pretty ugly.

The real estate market it "sizzling" but due only to the Asian money coming in for the schools which has pumped it up to crazy level when it comes to multiples times incomes. And in case everyone who thinks that it will never fail in Palo Alto. Well it can! note that if you bought in 2006 or 2007 then only now 6 years later are prices at the same level, which means that if you had your money in emerging markets you would have made about 6 percent per year, in other words a whole lot more than it rotting in a house in Palo Alto, even with the cost of schools for 2 kids thrown in.

Now the US economy is picking up, but smart investors will think that Palo Alto first up, but not necessarily go much farther. I would look to invest in a farm or some land somewhere, food producing region, if you want an investment. Here is way too expensive already.

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Posted by Saloon
a resident of Escondido School
on Dec 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Hey Solon:

Great idea, but we should expand on the concept. Why bother paying them at all? Public Service is its own reward.

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