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New budget signals Palo Alto's economic turnaround

Original post made on Jun 14, 2013

Palo Alto signaled its dramatic economic turnaround on Thursday night when it passed a budget that adds police officers, accelerates street repairs and -- for the first time in years -- contains no service cuts whatsoever.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 14, 2013, 9:45 AM

Comments (9)

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Posted by 35 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 14, 2013 at 10:56 am

Let's put a freeze on city hiring and salary increases for 2 years. Put the money toward fixing and repairing infrastructure.

My guess is that this will never happen. If there's a surplus, they'll find a way to increase the size of city government.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2013 at 11:13 am

Good. Now let's stop all this talk about a bond for infrastructure and get the work done.


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Posted by William Morrison
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I'm lived in 29 years in Palo Alto. I'm a board member of the WGNA.

Why do we have to spend every penny? What about SAVING some of the surplus. What about a "rainy day account?"

In good times you save to cover the bad times. This is responsible financial planning, especially with other people's money.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

When doesn't the council congratulate themselves?.. The big one is when the new mayor takes-- then they are all Back slapping each other. Soon they will be congratulating themselves over the may ell project, like they did for alma plaza. They are all so wonderful they want to get rid of term limits, so they can stay on forever. He is the progress coming along for your goals mentioned in the state f the city address, Greg? Maybe you can look into that gennady ( that is if you can stop worshipping the ground that Scharf walks on )


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm

This is typical Palo Alto Weakly reporting---congratulating city of officials without asking tough questions? What about the estimated $300 million to $600 million in unfunded pension liabilities? Seems the city isn't going to try and pay down that debt while things are good, and instead kick the can down the road. And if this is such a great budget, why is council planning to ask us to raise property taxes next year to pay for repairing infrastructure that the city should have been maintaining over the years? Why are we going to increase our city debt if things are so good?


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Posted by Gary Bradski
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I just want to know one thing: What is our real expense when you present value the tally of all the pensions? Plan for that real expense.

Of course, if I were in charge of things, I'd rather just decide how much we should actually pay people, how much they should be forced to save (I'm not against that), pay them that and force them to save enough out of that for their own retirement so that we don't build up hidden liabilities anymore.

I don't mind paying people a lot for good service, we should just know how much that we are really spending and then we can better decide what we really want to spend it on.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Dan-- the weekly does not want to bite the hand that feeds them. Plus the writer of the story holds scharf in high esteem. The weekly has always been the voice of the council


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Posted by maditalian_1492
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

William Morrison,

Thank you for some simple, refreshing, common sense. We must be from the same generation where we were taught not to spend everything. I like the way you think!

I was one of the few who took part in the recent survey, I was astonished at the list of possible expenditures the City was "considering" for PA. Only wish I'd been adding them up as the list was rattled off. Hundreds of millions of dollars. At one point, I asked the surveyor if I could make some statements that she could write down & submit. I told her that I thought the WHOLE City Council should be fired and the planning commission and the transportation director, Jaime Rodriguez. I wonder if any of these individuals even knows what a simple checkbook is and how it works.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2013 at 9:42 pm

$300-600 million IS the number for Palo Alto's unfunded pension liability. The City estimates $300 million, a Stanford estimate was closer to $600 million.

If that sounds bad, consider that the Economist estimated this week that the state of California's unfunded public pension liability might be $1 Trillion.

Interesting that all the self-congratulatory backslapping coincides with Jim Keene asking for raises for all the city management staff. Of course they all hope to have retired and moved on by the time the tsunami hits.


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