Now that Menlo Park has accepted John Arrillaga’s offer to pay for all but the first $20 million of the cost to build a new main library, how will the city come up with its share?
After pondering that question Tuesday (Aug. 8), the city’s Finance and Audit Committee came up with suggestions, but also said more information and public input is needed.
The suggestions were wide-ranging: from selling city assets such as its water company, to issuing bonds for enough to also finance other upcoming projects. The committee also recommended looking at establishing a line of credit that could allow the city to spend some of its reserves on the library with the line of credit providing funds in the case of an emergency until the reserves were built back up.
But committee members said much of the information needed to make an informed decision is missing. “We would like to make sure that there’s a little more information available for the public,” said committee chair Anne Craib, who also called for “a more robust public comment period around this.”
Just what the city’s total expected contribution would be isn’t clear, committee members said, questioning if the city will have to pay “soft costs” for environmental studies and design, or the costs of furnishing the new building and purchasing new books, on top of the $20 million.
Councilman Peter Ohtaki, who is on the Finance and Audit Committee, said he thinks the city should use the $4.5 million of its reserves that aren’t assigned to any specific use for the library, and might think about capping some of its other reserve funds at current levels, freeing up more funds for the project.
If the city decides to…
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