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Apple touts Cupertino public works investments ahead of employer tax vote

Apple lauded its contributions to Cupertino, Calif., in a letter sent to the municipality's city council on Monday, noting tens of millions of dollars which go toward public works projects that benefit its hometown. The authority is set to decide whether an employer tax measure will make it to ballot next year.

Penned by Apple VP of Global Real Estate & Facilities Kristina Raspe, the letter outlines the company's significant ongoing investment in Cupertino, which includes sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, as well as transportation efforts, reports SFGate.

In the letter, Apple focuses on recent improvements made in concert with the construction of Apple Park, a multi-billion dollar, 175-acre facility that houses more than 12,000 of the company's integral staff. Of note, Apple contributed more than $70 million in "public benefits" related to the freshly completed campus.

Sidewalk and crosswalk improvements to Bubb Road were cited, as was the construction of Apple Park's $108 million visitor center and Apple store. Original Apple Park plans did not include the ancillary building that was tacked on in 2015 at the behest of community requests.

Apple also points to efforts that help mitigate traffic in and around the Apple Park area. More than 25 percent of employees use "alternate transportation options," Raspe said. Details were left unmentioned, but the company began work on projects designed to handle increased area traffic, like bicycle and walking path improvements, from at least 2013.

Raspe said Apple will continue to work with the city and regional partners on other transportation solutions.

"For Cupertino and Apple to thrive we need to partner on both long-term and short-term solutions that will move our residents and employees more efficiently and effectively," the letter reads.

Raspe failed to mention Cupertino's potential employer tax, but the letter's timing leaves little doubt as to the company's motives. Apple declined to comment on the matter.

The Cupertino city council is looking to raise up to $10 million by charging companies with large head counts a per-employee fee. Measures under consideration include a model that levels a tax of $425 per employee on firms staffing at least 5,000 people, the report said.

Last month, the city council voted to push the tax proposal off the November ballot. If the city council approves the measure on Tuesday, voters will have a chance to vote on the matter as part of a special ballot in 2019.