Burlingame mayor discusses budgetBy Christine Morente
Grade separation and renovation of the Broadway Caltrain station were among the many issues discussed in a town hall meeting Wednesday night.
Mayor Joe Galligan -- with the city's department heads sitting behind him -- fielded citizens' questions on a variety of topics.
He said that grade separation -- elevation of the train tracks above street level -- will happen in his lifetime.
"Funding for that has already started. There will be a (high-speed) train from Los Angeles to San Francisco," he said.
The city wants Caltrain to improve the Broadway station so that more than one train can use it at a time. Caltrain plans to suspend service at the station for one year starting this summer in order to save money.
At the very start of the informal meeting, Galligan said the city hasn't been able to spend the money it used to for capital improvement projects, and with the state's take-aways, the City Council has had to make "tough decisions," which amounted to budget cuts.
One was not to fund crossing guards. Funding won't come from the city until its financial situation is better, Galligan said.
To free up money for the city's aging infrastructure, a number of city departments are sharing services with other cities in San Mateo County.
The Hillsborough and Burlingame fire departments merged to become the Central County Fire Department -- saving both cities $1.8 million a year.
Other examples of shared services: The Burlingame Police Department shares a code-enforcement officer with Millbrae and wants to contract services with Millbrae's dispatchers, while Burlingame's human resources department works with Hillsborough, and the Burlingame Public Library merged with the Peninsula Library System to save on costs. At the moment, Burlingame and Millbrae are in discussion to merge recreation services.
A downtown specific area plan, which would cost the city $250,000, is in the works. The plan, a two-year process, will shape a 20-year vision of the city's auto row and downtown area. Galligan told residents to expect seeing housing developments around the Peninsula Medical Center and near the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station.
Copyright ©2005 San Mateo County Times. Published 05/19/2005.