Atherton, Calif., Gets $350K From Facebook

By David Cohen 

The town of Atherton, Calif., has an extra $350,000 in its coffers courtesy of Facebook, as a result of the social network’s move to its headquarters in nearby Menlo Park, and concerns over traffic that were expressed by Atherton.

Atherton, with a population of about 7,000, is located between Menlo Park and Redwood City, and The Bay Citizen reported that the town’s annual per-capita income is $107,000, and its annual budget is slightly more than $10 million.

According to The Bay Citizen, the one-time payment by Facebook was agreed upon as compensation for the increased traffic at the intersection of Marsh and Middlefield roads, located about five miles from the social network’s new headquarters, and the town is exploring ways to expand the intersection, such as removing a roadside drainage channel and adding an extra turn lane.

Facebook will also provide Atherton with up to $15,000 in consulting work for transportation initiatives, including improvements to bicycle lanes, The Bay Citizen reported.

Mayor Bill Widmer told The Bay Citizen:

We’re not in a big hurry to spend the money. We have a number of issues we’re looking at. There are no restrictions as to how it can be spent. The intention was that we would more or less earmark that money so that it’s used for traffic-related activity.

Readers: Do you think the agreement between Facebook and Atherton was fair?