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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA March 2, 2004 Election
Measure Q
Library Parcel Tax Extension
City of Oakland

2/3 Approval Required

62,253 / 77.2% Yes votes ...... 18,437 / 22.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of May 4 2:39pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (245/245)
Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

For the purpose of: (1) maintaining and expanding neighborhood branch library services, days, and hours; (2) maintaining after school homework and tutoring programs; (3) maintaining literacy and children's programs; (4) increasing librarian services to schools; (5) increasing computer and technology access and (6) acquiring new books and materials; shall the City of Oakland extend and increase the existing library parcel tax, subject to independent audits and citizen's oversight commission?

Summary Prepared by Oakland's City Attorney:
This measure amends the Library Services Retention and Enhancement Act that Oakland voters passed in 1994 ("1994 Parcel Tax"). The 1994 Parcel Tax will expire in 2009 unless voters pass this or some similar measure before the automatic sunset date of 15 years after its original passage.

This measure would provide funding for library services by increasing the current parcel tax and extending the term of the 1994 Parcel Tax on residential and non-residential parcels to 2024. All other provisions of the 1994 Parcel Tax will remain the same.

City Attorney

Fiscal Impact from Oakland's City Auditor:
This measure amends the Library Services Retention and Enhancement Act of 1994. The proposed amendments will increase the existing parcel tax rates in order to meet estimated revenue shortfalls for programs funded by the Act. This Measure also includes expanded ways the funding can be used to enhance library services.

The City Council shall designate or appoint a body composed of Oakland citizens to make recommendations and review fund expenditures.

FISCAL IMPACT The City of Oakland estimates the total parcel tax will be $5.14 million in fiscal year 2003-2004 under the original measure. The approval of Measure Q will generate a total parcel tax estimated to be $10.7 million in fiscal year 2004-2005. This represents an estimated $5.56 million increase in the total parcel tax to fund library services approved under Measure Q. The parcel tax information is as follows:

Unit TypeProposedExisting
Tax Rate inTax Rate inProposed
Fiscal YearFiscal YearIncrease
2004-20052003-2004in Rate
Single Family$75.00$36.06$38.94
Multiple Unit51.2424.6326.61

The City Council may increase the proposed parcel tax rate as shown above after the first three years the tax is imposed. The increase will be based on changes in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index for the immediate San Francisco Bay Area with 1994 as the base year. The increase is limited to 5% of the parcel tax rate in effect the previous fiscal year on an annualized basis.

For the parcel tax to be collected, the General Fund appropriation for library services must be at least the appropriated amount in fiscal year 2000-2001. This appropriation amount was $9,059,989.

A Reserve Fund is to be established and maintained each year using the proceeds from the parcel tax. The Reserve Fund is to be maintained at an amount equal to 5% of the total parcel tax collected in the preceding fiscal year. With the exception of this Reserve Fund, the allocation of funding among approved uses of the proceeds will vary according to adoption of annual budgets by the City Council.

All funds collected by the City from imposition of the tax shall be deposited into a special fund in the City treasury and appropriated and expended only for the purposes authorized by this Measure.

The original measure was to remain in effect until December 1, 2009. Measure Q will amend the original measure and be effective thirty days after the City Council adopts the election results. The Measure will also include a new scheduled phase out date of June 30, 2024.

Although our estimates are based upon the best data available at this time, it is difficult to make such estimates with precision; therefore, the actual results may vary from our estimates.

City Auditor

Impartial Analysis from Oakland's City Attorney
Proposition 218 (California Constitution Article 13C) requires that voters approve any increase in taxes. This measure asks that Oakland voters approve changes to the current parcel tax, which provides funding for library services. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of approval is required to pass the tax.

This measure would amend the existing library tax by both increasing the parcel tax funding for City library services and extending by 15 years the life of the parcel tax.

The proceeds of the tax may be used only (1) to keep branch and the main libraries open, (2) to expand library collections, education and cultural programs for youth, literacy and information technology programs, (3) to operate the African-American museum and library program, (4) for joint educational activities with local schools, (5) for children's librarians, (6) for operation of a joint schoolpublic library in East Oakland, computer upgrades, and (7) for after-school homework and teen programs.

For residential property parcels, the proposed amendments would increase the existing parcel tax annual rate as follows: (1) from $36.06 to $75.00 for single-family parcels; and (2) from $24.63 to $47.82 per unit for multi-unit residential parcels.

For non-residential parcels the tax rate would increase from $18.47 to $35.85 per "Single Family Equivalent" ("SFE"). This measure does not change the definition of SFE or the formula that the current parcel tax law uses to calculate the parcel tax on non-residential parcels. The tax for a non-residential parcel is calculated by multiplying the number of SFEs by the tax rate.

To calculate the tax for a non-residential parcel, a property owner would determine the parcel's "land use category" and the number of SFEs in the property's "Frontage" (width of the front of the property) and "Area" (square footage of the property). (See Table below.) For example, a commercial/institutional property with frontage of 160 feet and an area of 6,400 has a total of three SFEs. The frontage of 160 feet equals two SFEs because each 80 feet of frontage equals one SFE; the 6,400 area equals one SFE because each 6,400 square feet of area equals one SFE. The annual tax for the property therefore would be three times the new tax rate of $35.85 per SFE or $107.55. (See Table below.)

Land Use CategoryFRONTAGE (FEET) per
Single Family EquivalentAREA (SQ FEET) per
Single Family Equivalent
Public Utility1,000100,000
Golf Course500100,000

The current tax will expire in 2009 unless voters pass this or another measure that extends the life of the tax. If Oakland voters pass this measure, the tax will be in effect until 2024.

This measure provides that the City may collect this tax only if it provides a minimum of $9,059,989 of funding for libraries each fiscal year.

City Attorney

  Official Information

Full Text of Measure
City Council Resolution (PDF)

Report to City Council re proposed measure (PDF)
Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters Written Pros & Cons
Scroll Down to Measure Q. Document also includes Pros & Cons of Measure 2, Measure A, Measure E, and other Oakland City Ballot Measures

LWV Oakland Pros & Cons Presentation
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 at 7 PM
EBMUD Training Room,
375 Eleventh Street.
News and Analysis

S.F. Chronicle

The Montclarion Oakland Tribune Partisan Information

Yes On Q

Information from the Oakland Public Library's Web Site

Measure Q - Q & A
Suggest a link related to Measure Q
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure Q
In 1994, Oakland voters approved a $36 parcel tax to fund essential library services. Because of increased costs due to new neighborhood branches, new technology needs and State budget cuts, this assessment is no longer sufficient to keep libraries open.

Measure Q would increase the existing library assessment by about 10 cents per day to ensure that Oakland neighborhood branch libraries remain open. These neighborhood libraries serve school children that lack school libraries and provide tutoring, homework assistance and access to computers.

Measure Q will:

  • Keep the main library open 7 days a week and neighborhood libraries 6 days a week
  • Provide after-school programs and homework tutoring for youth
  • Provide children's services at every library
  • Maintain literacy programs that teach Oakland residents to read
  • Preserve free access to computers and the Internet to low-income children and families
  • Provide library services to public schools

Measure Q requires annual audits and an independent citizens oversight committee to ensure Measure Q dollars are spent as promised.

Every branch library in Oakland will receive funding from Measure Q. No funds will go to the State or other communities. Every dollar will stay in Oakland.

Measure Q will ensure that our neighborhood branch libraries remain open and accessible for students, families, seniors and other residents.

Please vote YES on Measure Q.

Chair, Oakland Public Library Advisory Commission
Director, Oakland Public Library
President, Oakland Teacher's Union
Mayor of Oakland


(No arguments against Measure Q were submitted)

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Created: May 4, 2004 14:40 PDT
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