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Council to get reports on bills paid, as code requires By Dave Boyce

Q WOODSIDE

Almanac Staff Writer

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hen the town of Woodside pays a phone bill or a consultant’s fee or buys a giant holiday wreath for the front door of Independence Hall, a check is cut in Town Hall and the transaction is recorded. So such records do exist, but they have not been seen much by the Town Council, contrary to what is specified in the municipal code. That absence of oversight will

change with the Jan. 24 council meeting, Town Manager Kevin Bryant told the Almanac. The town code calls on the town’s finance director — in Woodside, that’s the town manager — to “prepare and audit a register of demands against the Town and certify the register of demands to the Council at each regular Council meeting.” “You know, (a warrant list)

is something that hasn’t been done in all my time,” Mr. Bryant said, referring to the almost nine years he’s been on the staff. “I went to look to see if there is something in the code that spoke to it and in fact there is.” The council in Portola Valley receives a warrant list at every meeting. In Woodside, the matter came up recently when a member of the public asked someone on town staff about publicizing such expenses, Mr. Bryant said. “I actually just let the

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(Woodside) council know that Bryant said that it had not. “It’s very rare that we get as of this month, we’ll be providing that information to them,” anything that’s a questionable Mr. Bryant said on Jan. 6. A war- invoice,” he said. If something like that rants list will does happen, be a monthly it’s taken on addition to the The abseuce by the admincouncil meetof oversight will istrative sering packet. vices manager The council change with Jan. 24 an accounts already receives council meeting, city as payable mat“broad finanmanager says. ter, he said. cial reports” Mr. Bryant and has for said that he could not recall years, he added. Asked if some routine over- examining the finance director’s sight of the warrants list had “Powers and Duties” section of been taking place anyway, such the municipal code, “at least not as review by the mayor, Mr. for a long while.” A

Atherton home fire likely caused by fireplace ashes By Barbara Wood Almanac Staff Writer

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fire at a home on Selby Lane in Atherton early Thursday morning, Jan. 5, appears to have been caused by a cardboard box of fireplace ashes placed on a patio table next to the house days earlier, fire officials say. Firefighters quickly put out the fire involving a garage and deck, but it spread to the exterior of the two-story home and caused an estimated $50,000 in structural damage and $5,000 in damage to property, according to Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. “It isn’t the first time we’ve seen this type of incident,” he said. Fireplace ash should be removed periodically, placed in a metal can and soaked in water, he advised. “The good news is the fire was discovered early, damage is minimal and no one in the home

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was injured,” he said. The homeowners reported the fire to county dispatchers at 2:26 a.m. and firefighters arrived by 2:32 a.m., Chief Schapelhouman said. All the residents had evacuated by that time. The fire was “knocked down” by 2:42 a.m., the chief said, but it had charred the exterior of the residential structure up to the second story eave line, so firefighters checked to make sure it hadn’t gotten into the home’s attic and walls. The district responded with five engines, a ladder truck and two battalion chiefs, with 21 total responders. “It appears the homeowner found the fire just in time and the quick response of the firefighters and knock down of the fire kept this from being a much worse situation,” Chief Schapelhouman said. “We are thankful that no one in the home was injured,” Battalion Chief Ben Marra said. The chief said the last unit left the scene at 5:02 a.m. A

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Creating a safe community

EMERGENCY SUPPLY WELL COMMUNITY MEETING This community meeting will discuss the project, explain what to expect during construction and answer questions. PROJECT DETAILS •

New emergency water supply well to be located at 333 Burgess Drive

Phase 1 construction (drilling) should start Jan. 30 and last approx. 60 days. Approx. 14 days of that will include continuous 24/7 drilling

FOR MORE INFORMATION •

Visit menlopark.org/emergencysupplywells

Call 650-330-6745

6QThe AlmanacQAlmanacNews.comQJanuary 11, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017 7:00–8:30 pm Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, Oak Room 700 Alma St.

DISPLACEMENT continued from page 5

how much rent can be increased, to minimize sudden, exorbitant rent increases. Such an ordinance could apply only to some apartments because of California law. Q Require landlords to give justification when they evict someone. This could also apply only to some apartments. Tenant assistance

The city of Mountain View requires landlords to provide relocation assistance to lowerthan-median-income tenants who honor their rent agreements

and are being evicted because of renovations or redevelopment. The landlord must refund the tenant’s security deposit; provide a 60-day subscription to a rental agency; pay the cash equivalent of three months of the median market rate rent for a similar size apartment; and pay an additional $3,000 to households with kids or with someone who is older than 62 or is disabled. A Q I N F OR M ATI ON Check AlmanacNews.com for updates. The joint study session was held after this issue went to press.


The Almanac January 11, 2017