Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto prepares to tap into federal funds, reserves to avoid budget cuts

Original post made on May 13, 2021

Elected leaders moved this week to reverse most of the cuts in City Manager Ed Shikada's proposed budget, which includes library closures, the elimination of art programs and reduced police staffing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 13, 2021, 9:12 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Money For Nothing
a resident of Barron Park
on May 13, 2021 at 10:07 am

Money For Nothing is a registered user.

>>the council agreed Wednesday to tap into additional revenues from the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides about $13.7 million in stimulus funds to the city over a two-year period — up from the initial allocation of $12.5 million.

Might as well spend ALL of the allocated free federal money over a reasonable period of time.

That's what it's there for.

Besides, an opportunity to receive easy cash from the federal government may never come again.

Now the next step is for the administration to approve and issue another stimulus check to qualified American citizens.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2021 at 10:39 am

Bystander is a registered user.


Now bring back the shuttle. But don't make it free, implement a small fare or annual use card. This will enable our school children to use the shuttle for school and help to keep our school commutes safer for those on bikes. Without the shuttle, many will be driven to school rather than use bikes.

We definitely need some common sense implementations.

Posted by The Lawman
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 13, 2021 at 10:39 am

The Lawman is a registered user.

Palo Alto is a relatively safe community and the officers are rarely in any real danger.

In larger urban cities, the potential for crime is far more serious and police defunding possibly unwarranted.

A reduction in PAPD staffing would create no encumbrances to the citizens of Palo Alto as police services are reactive rather than preventative law enforcement measures.

Posted by Eric Nee
a resident of University South
on May 13, 2021 at 11:23 am

Eric Nee is a registered user.

Thank you Pat Burt for helping lead the efforts to tap more of the federal money and reserves this year. As you point out, that is exactly what the money is for, to help out now. Not to hold back for the next year or two.

Posted by Spend The Money
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 13, 2021 at 11:50 am

Spend The Money is a registered user.

*Besides, an opportunity to receive easy cash from the federal government may never come again.

*tap more of the federal money and reserves this year. As you point out, that is exactly what the money is for, to help out now. Not to hold back for the next year or two.

Absolutely. Spend the free federal money on whatever is needed to improve projected civic expenditures.

The Republicans along with their inane conspiracy theories (and tight-fists when it comes to the dollar sign) are no longer taken seriously by most Americans.

Let's rejuvenate America and spend all of the money that has been bequeathed upon us.

More is needed and inflation fear is not a viable concern at present.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 13, 2021 at 11:55 am

Online Name is a registered user.

How about the city doing some cutbacks of the $500,000+ pr staff that can't be bothered to respond to media inquiries about power outages, the VA leaks, etc. How about cutting some of the executive staff that don't understand the concept of price elasticity when assuming projected attendance at the Junior Museum/Zoo will stay constant regardless of how much the fee is?

How about cancelling some of the grandiose and COSTLY plants for FIber-to-The-Home and for the "Climate Sustainability" Program to force us into higher electrical costs, to deal with more traffic-clogging and frustrating road furniture and to push up PA's already high construction costs by forcing us to renovate houses for a pipe dream that PA can single-handedly stop climate change? By the way, USED cars are now at a huge premium so forcing us to upgrade our cars may not be something people can afford along with new appliances, new furniture etc./

By the way, if PA can't provide outage updates or otherwise respond to major problems, HOW are they going to provide customer service for Fiber-to-the-Home??

Enough with the consultant gravy train to service these 2 initiatives!

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on May 13, 2021 at 12:01 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

@The Lawman
Actually, having a robust police presence is proactive. The presence of officers in the community and the knowledge that lawbreaking will be quickly addressed serves to deter people from committing crimes here. Further reducing the count of officers is like cutting back on vaccination because there's little visible disease.

Posted by Spend The Money
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 13, 2021 at 12:05 pm

Spend The Money is a registered user.


The PAPD does not deter crime in Palo Alto. They only respond to calls after the it a burglary, assault or what not.

Now if they were actually to be seen (e.g. walking patrols) I might agree with you
but most of them are too busy either on extended coffee breaks or issuing petty speeding tickets (doing 35 in a 25).

Posted by fred
a resident of University South
on May 13, 2021 at 12:20 pm

fred is a registered user.

The headline about libraries closing is contradicted by the article.

Posted by Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on May 13, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Gennady Sheyner is a registered user.

@fred. Thank you for pointing that out and sorry for the error. While the budget recommended keeping libraries closed, the committee voted to recommend keeping them open.

Posted by BLM Advocacy Center
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 13, 2021 at 3:33 pm

BLM Advocacy Center is a registered user.

Perhaps some of these financial resources could be utilized to create a series of mandatory police training seminars on how to better respond and react when it comes to interactions with black people.

Other topics to cover should include probable cause, illegal search and seizure, and the unwarranted use of firearms when detaining someone for questioning.

Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on May 13, 2021 at 4:18 pm

TimR is a registered user.

Does Ed know something we don't, about a future that's even more dire than things are right now? Or does he just enjoy making cuts and seeing people suffer, instead of using reserves for their intended purpose? As for rejecting Federal funds, I thought only very red states did that because they don't trust the Feds.

Posted by Lost In America
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Lost In America is a registered user.

Providing a safe and clean homeless encampment in Palo Alto for those less fortunate would also be a good use of the surplus federal funds.

I enjoy the PA public libraries as they provide a place to sleep during their hours of operation and I can use the restrooms to bathe myself.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 13, 2021 at 6:09 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Thank you to all who had a hand in addressing the flaws in the City Manager's proposed budget. I hope part of the process includes a blunt discussion with the City Manager, his Executive Team and other Senior Staff about what it is that Palo Altans value. The proposed cuts suggest that there's an "understanding gap" that is begging to be closed.

I have aged out of the years when my children benefitted from the wonderful child-centric institutions in this town, but I am grateful that generations of Palo Altans who preceded me made certain that this community defined itself as it did. It is important that this continue.

Posted by Marie
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 14, 2021 at 2:32 pm

Marie is a registered user.

By threatening a $18 fee for the Junior Museum, the city administration has tacitly approved a $10 fee. That is $30 for a parent and 2 toddlers to spend one or two hours in the museum. As we debate how to have more diversity in Palo Alto, the city administration are at the same time reducing access to a popular institution for children only to those for whom $30 is a minor charge. This is not true for many families. The Junior Museum, when free, was one of the few places I could take my grandchildren that was truly diverse. Classes attended at fairly high prices through Palo Alto Recreation, invariably had few people of color. If Palo Alto must charge such high fees, there needs to be a way to offer waivers for those who cannot afford these high fees.

Posted by ferris young
a resident of Downtown North
on May 14, 2021 at 4:43 pm

ferris young is a registered user.

Why initiate municipal cutbacks when there is free federal money to spend?

Use it or lose it.

Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on May 14, 2021 at 9:51 pm

chris is a registered user.


The Federal money is based on formulas.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Analysis/paralysis: The infamous ‘Palo Alto Process’ must go
By Diana Diamond | 7 comments | 2,527 views

Common Ground
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 2,130 views

The Time and Cost Savings of Avoiding a Long Commute
By Steve Levy | 6 comments | 1,794 views

Planting a Fall Garden?
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 1,244 views


Sign-up now for 5K Run/Walk, 10k Run, Half Marathon

The 39th annual Moonlight Run and Walk is Friday evening, September 29. Join us under the light of the full Harvest Moon on a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon. Complete your race in person or virtually. Proceeds from the race go to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, benefiting local nonprofits that serve families and children in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.