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tonight's agenda F-2 Finance and Audit Committee

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2019 15:13:58 -0700

Dear Honorable Mayor and Council Members,

There is much that the Finance and Audit Committee could do to support the
Council and Menlo Park community. Not mentioned in the staff report are
such things as
1) evaluating how well Financial Impact Reports are predicting actual
results and either confirming continuation of current methods, making
recommendations about ways this tool could be improved, and
2) helping find a way to broaden and strengthen the city's portfolio of
revenue sources. It seems that the primary current sources are development
fees and hotel Transient Occupancy Taxes. In the past, sales tax revenue
was a major source but a shift to internet and services businesses has
resulted in a huge reduction of this type of revenue. Development fees
represent a shaky foundation because there should be a nexus with
development costs (BAC could verify) and because the pace of development is
not sustainable at the same pace. Property taxes have risen along with the
development boom, but again this is a shaky foundation because Prop 13
restricts increases at a level lower than city costs increase. Intentional
broadening of revenue sources appears to be in order, and volunteers could
help.
3) evaluating the status of projected community benefits and public
amenities anticipated from the ECR/D Specific Plan and ConnectMenlo General
Plan relative to growth resulting from those plans.

If the desired work is more than this committee can do, consider splitting
the finance and audit responsibilities or creating new task force(s) with a
limited scope. There are many talented, capable and willing community
members who likely might be interested to assist with a lot of the work to
minimize additional load on city staff, whether such volunteers are part of
the Committee (perhaps enlarged) or a task force(s).. Residents can analyze
data, synthesize information, brainstorm ideas, and provide pros and cons
of alternatives as support for time-constrained staff and for the Council,
our policy-making body.

The city's finances are the fuel for all that the city can do, so consider
utilizing this committee and community members to help more.
Thanks for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted,
Patti Fry
Received on Tue Sep 10 2019 - 15:06:52 PDT

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