Based on the June 8th City Council Meeting and staff report, we have made some progress with the city’s budget, but there is still some clarification and further work needed later in the year.
Be sure to send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any thoughts or also join the City Council Meeting today, June 22nd to provide public comment.
Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/99880734930
The city’s finance staff has updated its overall budget picture, concluding that the General Fund, which is the largest fund where the City Council has discretionary spending, is balanced at a level of $61.49 million in revenues and $61.49 million in expenditures. In addition, there is about $5.39 million remaining in American Rescue Plan federal relief funds that can also help the city restore services that must be fully spent by December 31, 2024.
At the budget meeting on 6/8, it appeared as though there was progress on Menlo Together’s budget asks. Based on the staff report, there are still some open questions about how the city council will fund these asks.
- Covid Relief
Menlo Together had requested that some of American Rescue Plan funding be used to support those most heavily impacted. The budget contains several items to do this, including funding for rental and mortgage assistance outreach, connecting residents to existing programs; small business relief, and assistance to people facing eviction.
- Climate and transportation:
Menlo Together wanted to see robust staffing to implement the city’s climate action plan, and relatedly, to fund the projects and programs that improve safety for people walking and bicycling, and provide compelling alternatives to driving. In both cases, it sounded like there was majority council support for these goals, but the city was not yet ready to fully staff up, and was going to come forward in the middle of the year with plans that could be funded.
We invite you to thanking the city council for refraining from hiring the additional staff until the city goes through a process of assessing how to fund public safety.
Menlo Together wanted the city to hold off on hiring new police staff until the city went through a process to reexamine public safety and decide how to invest the funds. We did support hiring data staff to provide the data to analyze police activity and hold police accountable. The budget reflects these asks.
Also, the staff report for June 8 had said that the project to reimagine public safety was not funded, and the police chief said that the community-oriented civilian personnel could work on this project.
Join us in our ask that the City Council consider adopting an emergency eviction moratorium for Menlo Park that will take effect in the event that SB 91 is allowed to expire.