Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Los Altos Hills aims to be debt-free


Photo By: Image Courtesy of Town of Los ALtos Hills
Photo Image Courtesy Of Town Of Los Altos Hills

An illustration from the town of Los Altos Hills shows how only 6 cents from every dollar in property taxes ends up in city coffers.

The Los Altos Hills City Council Thursday approved an $11.4 million operating budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year that may clear the town of outstanding debt.

The prospect of fiscal health follows four years of expenditures on capital improvement projects, substantial loan repayments for renovation projects and repayments to the state for unused Roadway Impact Fees.

The town still owes $113,000 to the California Energy Commission for loans used to fund energy efficiency measures.

“Paying off these loans will be a major, one-time expenditure that will improve the town’s overall financial condition and make it debt-free,” wrote City Manager Carl Cahill in a letter to the council.

Following Cahill’s revelation last week that additional roadway funds may be needed in the next year, the council agreed to reconsider whether paying the loans off outright made sense. Although the town expects a $163,000 surplus in its general fund at the end of the fiscal year, councilmembers don’t want to get stuck in a pinch.

“The budget is a plan,” Los Altos Hills Mayor Gary Waldeck said. “Plans change.”

To ensure that Los Altos Hills replenishes its coffers for the future, the town plans to spend 2.8 percent less than it did last year. Cost-cutting measures include eliminating two staff positions and asking each department to cut its budget by 2 percent. The town also intends to trim expenses by decreasing postemployment benefits for staff, discontinuing the sewer connection incentive program, postponing the hiring of a barn manager at Westwind Community Barn and reducing funds for planning consultants and tree removal.

The greatest expenditures in the 2013-2014 budget include $778,200 for Sewer Treatment Plant operations and $488,000 for sewer capital projects – estimated to run 11 percent higher this year than last. Los Altos Hills also plans to allocate $80,000 to hire professionals to complete a state-mandated 2014-2022 housing element update, $50,000 for engineering consultation for Barron Creek and $50,000 for open-space management.

Property taxes – the town’s largest source of revenue at 43 percent – are projected to increase $50,812, or 1.2 percent, in the next fiscal year. Revenue from all other taxes is forecast to decrease $66,900, or 12.7 percent, a result of reduced business-license activity and property transfers.

For a copy of the operating and capital budgets, click “Agenda” for the June 20 council meeting at losaltoshills.ca.gov/city-government/city-council/reports.

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