Sep 7 2012

OPINION: Parcel Tax to Pay for Employee Benefits

Piedmont is faced with uncontrolled liabilities –

The 5 majority members of the Municipal Tax Review Committee are to be thanked for presenting some unpleasant, yet hugely important, information concerning the financial situation of our lovely Piedmont.  Here are some of the surprising … and scary… facts which I was previously not aware of, and I suspect many of the other readers also may not be aware:

1)        Piedmont has a $40 million un-funded employee benefit liability; which is about $10,000 for every Piedmont household, or looking at it another way, is $400,000 for every full time position within the Piedmont city government.  (Note: this is an un-funded liability!)

2)        The Piedmont city employee fringe benefit costs are now nearly 60% of their employee salary, and this has grown from 33% in 2004.  (This is huge growth; especially in these difficult times.)

3)        The dollar difference between the current 60% fringe benefit costs as a percent of the employee’s salary costs versus the 2004 amount of 33% equates to about $1.9 million dollars per year.

4)        The Parcel Tax, if passed, will generate revenue of about $1.6 million dollars, which is similar to the $1.9 million amount being paid annually which is in excess to the amount being spent in 2004.

5)        To tie things together, it is clear the Parcel Tax revenue of $1.6 M is needed to pay for the yearly excess fringe benefit of $1.9 M.

Based on all the above, it seems clear to me that we should not be passing the City Parcel Tax (Municipal Services Tax).  Further, that the Piedmont City Council should implement actions to bring Piedmont’s employee fringe benefits down to an affordable level, and do so while maintaining the quality and quantity of our existing services.

David Schmidt, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

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