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Budget review kicks off on happy note for Palo Alto

Original post made on May 8, 2013

After years of budget deficits, staff cuts and service reductions, Palo Alto officials found themselves in a delightful and unfamiliar position Tuesday night when they took their first look at City Manager James Keene's proposed budget for 2014.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 11:17 PM

Comments (8)

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Posted by realistic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

Unfreezing police positions is a positive step - it responds to resident concerns, reflects the reality of needed traffic enforcement. As for the new Office of Sustainability, if this is to have real meaning, its first priority should be a review the City's Planning and Transportation Dept pro-growth anti-environment, anti-neighborhood policies to confront the reality of what is happening in our City.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2013 at 11:10 am


Contrary to all this city hall exuberance, Palo Alto should be shoring up its shaky long term finances, instead of, "it's party time!"

The City is behind on infrastructure, its cost structure is still unsustainable, and it has a $300-500 million unfunded pension liability. The staff/council's solution: borrow money via a bond measure and do more lousy deals with developers; and pretend that other stuff doesn't exist.

How about we tell Chop to get lost and build our own parking structure? But nooooo ....

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Posted by member
a resident of Ventura
on May 8, 2013 at 11:18 am

Frys has two huge parking lots, behind and in front of their building. I know at one point the parking lot behind the building that is huges, and hardly used, was going to be turned into a park... Why not reconsider that it again -- it would be perfect, right in the middle of town. You could add something new and interesting to it to, that all of the community could use, such as a pavilion for music concerts.... Since PA is cramming in so many new condo - we now need more open space, and also more things for all of us to do... Please consider it. And eventually if Frys moves out - this would be a great place to have a community center, and free up Cubbberly for what it was intended for, a school.

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Posted by Unfreeze
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Yes, please unfreeze the frozen positions in the police department. Their staffing is a joke. You can't expect them to prevent crime if there are only a handful of them on duty at any one time.

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Posted by AR
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I don't see how the City can claim a rosy view of the budget with the salary and pension-funding issues it faces. Today's Daily Post leads with the headline "Council balks at pay bump" but this paper doesn't include that here as a lead story. In the article, Keene is described as someone who essentially expects Council to approve whatever he presents. Perhaps b/c they usually do?? Article also states that the City Manager OR Council-appointed officers will also have discretion to approve salaries that exceed the midpoint. That should not be discretionery; it should be required. Also, many cities in CA are in serious financial distress (particulalry looking at the long-term) and since comp pkgs are a contributor to that problem it seems to me it would be prudent to compare the PA salary model to non-municipal models. Otherwise, we could find ourselves forced to accept a comparison to a salary structure that is wrongly skewed towards an unrealistic high end. Saying that the budget outlook is positive is all good and well - but only if it is true.

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Posted by Paco
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Sorry to hear that Keene intends to spend the majority of additional tax revenue giving a 2% salary/benefit increase to his shadow organization of managers. These managers are all currently receiving $100,000+ salaries! What a pity!

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Posted by Yo!
a resident of Downtown North
on May 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Keene's "shadow organization" of managers? At least they show up in the budget. How about Planning & Community Environment and Development Services "shadow organization" of contract services for entitlement review, plan check and building inspection (PDF Pg. 203 of 375 of Proposed Operating Budget - Fiscal Year 2014)? Where are they detailed in the budget?

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Posted by Unfreeze
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 9, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Instead of managers and specialists, lets use the money to pay for tangible well defined things like cops on the street.

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