The City Council was divided last week over whether to give $150,000 annually to the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County since other cities, including Los Altos, were only giving a small fraction of that amount.
Every year the trust asks local cities for contributions towards homeless shelters, affordable housing projects and section eight subsidies. During their meeting last Tuesday night, council members were puzzled and, in some cases, annoyed after seeing that the city had originally been asked for more than any other city in the county -- $300,000 a year for two years.
Los Altos was only asked for $5,000, and Cupertino was asked for $25,000. The largest request was to San Jose for $250,000.
A representative of the trust explained that cities without many low income residents, like Los Altos, weren't expected to use any of the funds anyway, but some council members apparently thought that was exactly why those cities should pay more.
"I just don't like being singled out like this as a cash cow," said council member Jac Siegel, who wanted the trust to come back with an explanation for how it came up with the request amounts.
The council ended up voting 4-2 to dispense $150,000 a year for two years in below market rate housing funds collected from housing developers, with Jac Siegel and Laura Macias opposed. Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga abstained due to her involvement with the trust.