A city bookended by tax generators

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on August 5, 2009

As residents know, Menlo Park is rather long and skinny, extending from the San Franciscoo Bay (middle of the Dumbart0n Bridge) in the east to the foot of the Coast Range in the west. According to menlofocus, a community newsletter published by the City of Menlo Park three times a year, the city is also bookended by two tax generators – one a cause of celebration, the other a cause of concern. The Rosewood Sand Hill, which opened in April offers a restaurant (Madera), spa (Sense), and over a 100 guest rooms, is expected to generate an “increase of almost $1 million in hotel taxes,” according to menlofocus. That, along with other development projects, will allow the city of Menlo Park to “maintain services” and “achieve a sustainable budget” in fiscal year 2009-10 – and to not increase taxes.

The bad news is that the forecast is more grim going forward. Revenue growth is expected to be “subdued,” current cost-savings measures are not considered sustainable, and the impact of the state’s budget situation on local government is being closely monitored. Also being watched is the fate of the large complex that bookends Menlo Park on the east, the Sun Microsystems complex, characterized as “one of Menlo Park’s major employers and a top tax generator.” The impact of Sun’s merger with Oracle, to be completed before the year is out, remains uncertain.

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