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Easier Way for Residents to Track Capital Improvement Projects -- Request

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2018 09:45:48 -0700

Hello Azelea and Nick,

Could your departments work together to provide more comprehensive and
complete information pertaining to Capital Improvement projects across the
complete planning life cycle?

The Engineering Department website
<https://www.menlopark.org/222/Capital-Improvement-Program> lists some
underway with some in the proposal stage only, such as the Parks and
Recreation Facilities Master Plan update. However, I don't see these
projects that are well underway in terms of getting Council's approval:
Downtown Parking Garage, Ravenswood Train Crossing and new Library
Buildings. There may be others. The project list at the Engineering
Department website is not complete and the projects do not include adequate
financial details. The Finance <https://www.menlopark.org/367/Finance>
Department website has a link to the current budget document
<https://www.menlopark.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/6273>, but this site
does not cross reference to the Engineering Department site with its
(incomplete) list of Capital Improvement Projects.

The public needs an easier way to track the Capital Improvement Projects. A
great start would be to evolve to a separate Capital Improvement Projects
budget document like they do in the City of Palo Alto. That city's
*Proposed* Capital Improvement budget
<https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/64860> is very
easy to follow although it includes more comprehensive information than
MP's budget document. Having a separate document would make it easier for
the taxpayers to understand and track the financial details. Then the PA
document also groups and presents the information in a visually appealing
and readily understandable way. The project details (pages 73-257) contain
the level of information that would help departments to think through the
financials (and to track them) as their projects are underway. For many
reasons, I think it's time to start discussing the idea of MP starting to
produce an annual *Proposed *Capital Improvement budget document.

Related to the above, in proposal presentations to the public and council
(such as for the Parking Garage and expected request for funding for new
library systems) can we start to see a summary page with all unfunded --
yet proposed -- Capital Improvement Projects? That would start to deliver
the foundation for a more comprehensive *Proposed* Capital Improvement
budget document. Having the complete list would allow the public and
council to better evaluate these projects as a whole and in relation to
each other.

Right now, the proposed CIP projects are presented in isolation and
sometimes the financial information is also missing or woefully inadequate.
For rational and informed decision-making, we need more comprehensive and
holistic financial information.

Thank you for considering these ideas.

Lynne Bramlett
Received on Thu May 17 2018 - 09:46:58 PDT

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