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Smart Voter
San Mateo County, CA November 3, 2009 Election
Measure S
Parcel Tax
Town of Atherton

Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

Pass: 1,426 / 78.0% Yes votes ...... 403 / 22.0% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 29 12:09pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (6/6)
27.8% Voter Turnout (77,340/277,759)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To continue providing funding to maintain neighborhood police patrols and the Town's ability to respond to emergencies, repair and maintain streets, and repair and construct storm drains, shall an ordinance be adopted to continue the existing Town of Atherton Special Parcel Tax for four years?

Impartial Analysis from the City of Attorney, Town of Atherton
The California Constitution and state law authorize the voters of a town, by a two-thirds majority, to approve a parcel tax for specified purposes.

This measure would extend, for four years, at the current rates, a parcel tax for the following purposes: (1) police emergency response services; (2) street repair and maintenance; (3) drainage facility repair and maintenance, and (4) capital improvements.

Before levying the parcel tax, the City Council must adopt an annual budget. It must then hold a duly noticed public hearing on the proposed tax. The tax may not exceed the amount the City Council determines to be necessary to provide adequate levels of the municipal services and capital improvements described above, after deducting the projected revenue to be gathered from other sources.

The tax on individual parcels may not exceed in any year the amounts set forth in Section 4 of the proposed ordinance authorizing the tax. A copy of the ordinance is included in the ballot materials.

The tax will be a lien on individual parcels and may be collected by the Town or the County Tax Collector at the option of the City Council.

Any monies raised by this parcel tax will be deposited in a special fund and may be used only for the described municipal services and capital improvements.

Authority to levy this tax will commence for the fiscal year 2010-2011 and will expire after fiscal year 2013-2014.

A "yes" vote is a vote to maintain the Town's special parcel tax at its current levels.

A "no" vote is a vote to end the levy of a special parcel tax for the town.

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Arguments For Measure S Arguments Against Measure S
Since the enactment of Proposition 13, Atherton's parcel tax has been a critical income source to the Town for more than 30 years. Renewed every few years and proposed to remain at $750 for most parcels and fully tax deductible, it raises overs $1.86 million annually.

Atherton receives 100% of the parcel tax; only 14% of the assessed property taxes go to the Town of Atherton. Atherton has acted prudently with its residents' tax revenues and has received seven consecutive clean audits.

The parcel tax will raise $7.5 million over the next four years. These are funds desperately needed to maintain current levels of public safety, road and drainage maintenance.

Atherton has little sales tax revenue and few other sources of income. Whenever possible, State and Federal grants are obtain to augment other revenues, but in the present economic climate, these are becoming scarce.

The State has decided to withhold an estimated $435,000 of Atherton's property taxes.

In the current fiscal year, Atherton has aggressively reduced costs, including employee related expenses for police and staff. Without the parcel tax further substantial cuts will be needed. As the police force represents 57% of the Town's personnel expense, additional necessary budget cuts can be expected to result in a lower level of police protection.

The Town maintains adequate reserves but without the parcel tax, these reserves used to address economic uncertainty and disaster response could be significantly depleted.

The parcel tax renewal requires a two-third's majority. Please renew the current parcel tax so that your local government can continue to provide the safety, security, road repairs and drainage work essential to maintain Atherton's quality of life for its residents.

Please vote YES for Atherton.

/s/ Jerry Carlson, Mayor

/s/ Kathy McKeithen, Vice Mayor

/s/ Elizabeth Lewis, Council Member

/s/ Charles Marsala, Council Member

/s/ Jim Dobbie, Council Member

None Submitted

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Created: December 29, 2009 12:09 PST
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