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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA March 4, 2008 Election
Measure D
Municipal Services Tax
City of Piedmont

2/3 Approval Required

Pass: 2,616 / 73.9% Yes votes ...... 925 / 26.1% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

To maintain essential services and prevent a reduction in maintenance of city facilities, shall the City of Piedmont authorize a new Municipal Services Tax at the same level authorized by the current tax measure as more specifically set forth in Ord. 674 N.S. which is on file with the City Clerk

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
Measure D is a replacement for the City's current Municipal Services Tax. The new tax is would raise a maximum of $1,500,000 (the same rate as the current tax adjusted for inflation).

Since 1980, the City has relied on the Municipal Services Tax to supplement the funds generated by real property taxes, sales taxes, and other revenues in order to provide the level of municipal services expected by Piedmont residents. Measure D is designed to allow the City to provide police, fire, paramedic and public works services at current levels. Without the passage of Measure D personnel reductions, service cutbacks and decreased maintenance of city parks and streets are possible if there is a downturn in the economy and the City's revenues are decreased.

The City Council has a long-standing practice of levying only the amount of tax needed in any given year and if the economy remains strong, it is likely that the maximum tax will not be levied. In fiscal year 2007-08, the City Council levied no tax.

For the past 27 years the City has relied on a Municipal Services Tax. Passage of Measure D provides insurance that important basic City services will continue to be provided.


George S. Peyton, Jr.

City Attorney

  League of Women Voters' Election Forum

Date: Monday, February 11 Time: 7:30 PM Location:Piedmont Community Center
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Arguments For Measure D
Every four years since 1980, Piedmont citizens have voted to renew the Municipal Services "Parcel" Tax. The Parcel Tax provides the critical funding that allows Piedmont to continue providing the first-rate city services that Piedmont residents expect.

How are your Parcel Tax dollars spent? Piedmont has the lowest crime rate in Alameda County, because the Parcel Tax provides the funding to keep a strong police presence on the streets. Have an emergency? Response time for police, fire, and paramedics averages less than three minutes, Piedmont has beautifully kept parks, well-maintained streets, and extensive programs for our children and seniors. We need the parcel tax to maintain the quality of life in Piedmont.

Why is it necessary? Most cities have commercial districts that generate sales tax dollars to support city services. Piedmont has very little retail activity and receives almost no sales tax revenue. We don't have the diverse income sources other cities have.

Is the full amount necessary? In more years than not, and especially in the past 10 years, the City Council has been able to charge less than the maximum rate. Last year's revenues were unexpectedly high, so for this current tax year, the Council chose not to assess any parcel tax at all.

Who decides how much to charge? Every four years, a volunteer committee studies Piedmont's finances and examines the need for the parcel tax. They ask questions, review financial reports, and compare Piedmont to other similar cities. Finally, they estimate the "gap" between what it costs to maintain Piedmont's first-rate city services, and what Piedmont gets in tax revenues. Measure D is no higher than the current parcel tax.

Please vote YES on Measure D. Vote to renew the parcel tax. Vote to maintain the services that make Piedmont a wonderful place to live.

Abe Friedman, Vice Mayor
John Y. Chiang, Councilmember
Martha Jones, Chair, Municipal Services Tax Committee
Michael Rancer, University Budget Director
Jeff Wieler, Columnist

(No arguments against Measure D were submitted)

Full Text of Measure D




The City Council of the City of Piedmont hereby ordains as follows:


It is the intent of the City Council of the City of Piedmont in adopting this Ordinance to provide for the continuation of a special tax for the provision of municipal services in Piedmont to a maximum of $1.5 million. Further, the use of City services and the demand for City services is closely tied to the uses and occupancies of property within the City, and it is logical to base such tax on use and occupancy of improved real property.


Chapter 20B of the Piedmont City Code is hereby amended in its entirety to read as follows:




This Ordinance and the tax authorized herein is adopted pursuant to the provisions of Article 3.7 of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code (Sections 53720-53730); and the California Constitution Article XIII B, Section 4. The tax authorized herein is based on use and occupancy of improved real property.


If in any fiscal year commencing on or after July 1, 2009, the City Council shall determine that municipal services, involving police and fire protection, street maintenance, building regulations, library services, recreation, parks maintenance, planning and public works, are necessary for the public good, welfare and safety, and that the cost of providing such services and expenses will exceed the amount of funds generated through other revenue and income of the City for such services, then it may levy a special tax for such fiscal year on each parcel of real property within the City in a manner provided herein. This is a tax for special governmental purposes and shall be deemed a special tax as defined pursuant to Section 53721 of the California Government Code.


Each year concurrent with the adoption of the annual budget, the City Council will determine the total amount of expenditures necessary to provide adequate levels of municipal services as defined in Section 20B.2 and deduct therefrom the projected revenue to be collected from sources other than this special tax. The difference, if any, shall be the maximum amount of funds to be derived from the tax authorized by this Ordinance for such year.


After determining the amount of tax to be raised under Section 20B.3, the City Council shall apportion said amount among the parcels of real property within the City not exempted by law or exempted pursuant to Section 20B.12, as follows:

BASIC MUNICIPAL SERVICES TAX MAXIMUM RATE SCHEDULE Per Parcel According to Size Single Family Residence Developed Commercial Properties Multi-Family Residence Parcels Divided by Tax Code Area Line

0 to 4,999 sq. ft. $342

5,000 to 9,999 sq. ft. $383

10,000 to 14,999 sq. ft. $444

15,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. $506

Over 20,000 sq. ft. $576

0 to 10,000 sq. ft. $576

Over 10,000 sq. ft. $864

Per Dwelling Unit $237

Per Parcel $350

The foregoing tax rate schedule shall apply for the 2009/2010 tax year commencing July 1, 2009, and ending on June 30, 2010. For each tax year thereafter commencing with the 2010/2011 tax year, the foregoing tax rate schedule shall be adjusted as follows:

An amount equal to the percentage increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all Urban Consumers (All items) (Base Year 1984 = 100) (Not Seasonally Adjusted) for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California area, as published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the period from December 2008 to December of the fiscal year immediately prior to the year in which the percentage adjustment will apply, multiplied by the specific tax rate in the foregoing Maximum Municipal Services Tax Maximum Rate schedule. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the maximum percentage increase of this tax as compared to the same tax in the prior fiscal year shall be 4%.

For purposes of example only, if the maximum tax rate in the 2009/10 fiscal year for a single family resident parcel of 5,000 square feet is $383.00, and the Consumer Price Index for December 2008 is 100 and for December 2009 is 103, the increase of 3 is a 3% increase, meaning an additional maximum tax of $11.49 for the 2010/2011 fiscal year or a total maximum tax of $394.49 for such fiscal year.

The records of the Alameda County Assessor as of March 1 of the fiscal year immediately preceding the fiscal year in which the special taxes are payable shall determine whether or not any particular parcel is unimproved for purposes of this Ordinance. All improved parcels which are located entirely within the City of Piedmont shall be subject to the special taxes assessed pursuant to Chapter 20B. In addition, on improved parcels which are located partially within the City of Piedmont, all such parcels whose residents are eligible to register to vote in Piedmont and/or all such parcels which are eligible to receive services from the City of Piedmont pursuant to the 911 Emergency System as of March 1 of the fiscal year immediately preceding the fiscal year in which the special taxes are payable shall be subject to the special taxes assessed pursuant to Chapter 20B. Each parcel shall be taxed pursuant to this Section 20B.4 according to its actual use as of March 1 of the fiscal year immediately preceding the fiscal year in which any such special tax is payable.


Prior to levying a tax under this Ordinance in any fiscal year, the City Council shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed tax. Such hearing may be conducted simultaneously with a hearing relating to the annual budget for the fiscal year in which the special tax is to apply. Notice of such hearing shall be posted on the official bulletin board at City Hall at least 10 days prior to the hearing. All of the information and material which the City Council intends to consider at such hearing and the proposed amount of tax to be raised shall be made available to the public by being on file in the office of the City Clerk for at least 10 days prior to said hearing.

Following said hearing, the Council may adopt a resolution fixing the amount of tax to be raised.


The City Council may elect to have any special tax authorized under this chapter collected either by the City or in the alternative by the Tax Collector of the County of Alameda. If the services of the Tax Collector of the County of Alameda are elected, the special tax may only be included on the annual tax bill sent out by such Tax Collector and charges made by such Tax Collector shall be paid out of funds deducted from the gross proceeds of the tax.


Pursuant to California Constitution Article XIIIB, the appropriations limit for the City of Piedmont will be increased by the aggregate sum collected by levy of this special tax in each of the years covered by this Ordinance.


Proceeds of any tax levied under this Ordinance shall be deposited into the General Fund of the City.


To the extent it has actually determined by an audit of the City's finances that there is an unexpended residue (as defined hereafter) of any money raised by the City under this Ordinance for a particular fiscal year, then the City Council shall use such residue in the next fiscal year for which the tax under this Ordinance has not been established, and shall reduce the amount of the tax for such subsequent fiscal year by the amount of the unexpended residue. Unexpended residue of any money raised by the City under this ordinance may only be used in the succeeding year for the purposes stated in this Ordinance or and to the extent there is an unexpended residue for the 2008-2009 fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, such unexpended residue shall be returned to the taxpayer on the same pro rata basis as originally levied by a refund or by a reduction in subsequent taxes. "Unexpended residue" as used in this Section 20B.9 shall mean the amount the General Fund Reserve of the City exceeds twenty-five percent (25%) of the actual general operating expenses of the City in the fiscal year in question. "General Fund Reserve" as used in this Section 20B.9 is defined as the unencumbered balance maintained in the general fund for the purpose of meeting unforeseen expenses, unrealized revenue estimates, or other emergencies of the City.


If any provision of this Ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect any other provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions this Ordinance are declared to be severable.


The authorization to levy a tax under this Ordinance shall expire with the fiscal year 2012-2013 ending June 30, 2013. This Ordinance, or any provision thereof, may only be amended or repealed by approval of a two-thirds majority of the voters voting on the proposition at any initiative or referendum election.

This Ordinance shall be adopted, if approved by a two-thirds majority of the voters voting on the proposition at an election to be held on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, and shall be effective commencing with the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2009; provided that the provisions of Chapter 20B in effect on March 4, 2008 shall remain in effect for all purposes relating to the taxes provided thereunder through the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.


The City Council may from time to time by Council resolution adopt exemptions to the tax measures set further herein.


This Ordinance shall require passage by a 4/5th's vote of the City Council in compliance with the provisions of Section 53724(b) of the California Government Code, shall be posted at City Hall after its second reading by the City Council for at least 30 days, and shall not become effective unless approved by a two-thirds majority of the voters voting on the proposition at an election to be held on Tuesday, March 4, 2008.

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Created: April 7, 2008 15:15 PDT
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