Council discussion on Monday, July 16, centered on the appropriateness of putting the City parcel tax renewal on this November’s ballot.
Resident Rick Schiller asked
the Council not to place the tax on the ballot at this time due to incomplete compliance with advisory committees’ recommendations and the failure of the City to observe appropriate financial oversight. As a member of the 2011 Municipal Tax Review Committee (MTRC), Council Member Bob McBain defended the City’s compliance with recommendations. Council Member Jeff Weiler warned of unintended consequences if the parcel tax failed. City Administrator Geoff Grote named many ways the Council has been financially prudent including revoking approval of the Blair Park sports field based on proponents insufficient sharing of costs. Grote noted that for 32 years the parcel tax has been an important part of Piedmont’s budget. The need for a parcel tax in the context of escalating employee pension and medical benefits arose. The Council is considering getting out of CalPERS, as Vice Mayor Margaret Fujioka pointed out, while noting these matters take time. Mayor John Chiang stated in regard to employee compensation that a sledge hammer approach was not his preference, as he preferred a serial approach. Council Member Garrett Keating supported placing the parcel tax on the ballot and allowing voters to decide. He recalled the reports by the advisory committees, the MTRC and the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee, emphasizing that the current financial path of the City is unsustainable. He urged residents to read the executive summaries.
The Council unanimously approved placing the parcel tax on the November ballot.