Menlo Park needs to cut $18 million from budget

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

Menlo Park City Council tonight (May 12) will look at cutting $18.24 million from its budget, including $1.14 million from the administration.

Upper management will not get raises or bonuses, and their pay will be cut, saving $645,291, according to a report from Assistant City Manager Nick Pegueros and Assistant Administrative Services Director Dan Jacobson.

The city will save another $498,004 in administrative costs by not replacing two department heads.

Despite the cuts, the city will still have to fork over just over $1 million in raises to unionized employees. The contracts with the city unions, which were negotiated previously, call for a 2.5% raise on July 1.

However, the council is also considering whether to layoff 46 full-time employees and 48 part-time employees. However, the report to council does not say how many of those positions are currently filled.

The city is looking at losing at least $12.7 million in anticipated revenues in the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

Jacobson and Pegueros have found $18.24 million in cuts in order to give the council some wiggle room in what it wants to keep in the budget.

The expected losses are largely due to the anticipated drop in hotel taxes, 12% of room charges, due to the lack of people who will be traveling. The hotel tax was anticipated to bring in about $10 million for the budget year ending on June 30, representing 15% of the city’s projected revenues.

The city’s current budget is $68 million.

The council is already hearing from people who don’t want to see some of the cuts. The main program that the council has been getting emails about is the potential elimination of the preschool child care programs at the Menlo Children’s Center in Burgess Park. The city is also considering cutting the preschool at the Belle Haven Child Development Center at 410 Ivy Drive.

Eliminating those two programs would save the city just over $3 million.

Between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. yesterday, the council received around 10 emails from parents of children in the programs protesting the potential closure.

One parent, Uri Golani, argued that the Menlo Children’s Center should not close because the city already has a shortage of child care services.

Others, such as Nick Kohli, said that the preschool is an attraction for young families to move to Menlo Park.

Other things on the chopping block include the traffic patrol unit, which would save the city about $1 million, and reducing police patrols would save the city about $1.6 million, according to the report.

The city council will meet tonight at 5. The meeting can be streamed at menlopark.org/streaming.

2 Comments

  1. No need for full time employees on community center, Facebook can handle that as well I am sure. Preschool is far more important than a structure that will flood in 10 years and be under water in 50. Climate change effects the well being and home value of all residents should be the city councils top priority, not that of the mayor’s personal goals. If two projects, both ready to start, are too hard to work on at the same time, then there clearly is a problem. The sea level doesn’t wait while the community center is being built, it keeps rising.

    Mayor Taylor, you may be giving your constituents a community center, but you are ruining their future. Their home, Belle Haven, will be flooded annually, they won’t be able to get homeowners insurance, just like those in fire zones. Those who own will be leaving their children to inherit a home that will soon have little value, and their grandchildren or great grand children will have to move away as Belle Haven will be under water. It’s too bad you didn’t choose to prioritize climate change, the potential to lead great things was right there. Menlo Park had been leading the way.

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