California city approves deal with Facebook
Menlo Park, Calif: A Silicon Valley city where Facebook recently opened its new headquarters approved a deal that will allow the company to bring in thousands more employees.
The Menlo Park City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to let the social networking giant make annual payments totaling nearly $10 million to cover the impact that the influx of new workers will have on city infrastructure.
Facebook will also pay for more than $1 million in capital improvements, such as pedestrian and bicycle paths, and set up high school internship and job training programs. The agreement establishes a $500,000 fund for the nearby city of East Palo Alto, where unemployment is high and the median income is low.
In exchange, Menlo Park will expedite permits and not levy unexpected city fees on the company.
Residents who attended the Tuesday night meeting urged city leaders to approve the deal.
"Usually a city has to put out lures and enticements" to attract companies such as Facebook, said Louise DeDera, a member of the city`s Allied Arts Guild. "Don`t be greedy."
Facebook wants to employ about 6,600 people on its 57-acre, nine-building campus. It needed the city`s approval to exceed the limit of 3,600 employees that was placed on the previous occupant, Sun Microsystems.
Facebook eventually wants to expand and build a west campus across the street to make room for a total of 9,400 employees.
The increased traffic along a major road running between Highway 101 and the new headquarters along San Francisco Bay has been a key issue among residents. Facebook has said it will encourage employees to carpool, take public transit or walk or bike to work.
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