Oct 5 2012

OPINION: The Original Intent of the City Parcel Tax

Parcel Taxes Unfairly Based on Parcel Size –

 Dear Fellow Piedmonters,

On September 19th, I received a “Vote Yes on Measure Y” mailer from Mayor 
John Chiang. The proponents keep “spinning” the talking point that Measure Y is not a new tax, but just 
a continuation of a old tax for General City Services. This is not true. 

What is the History of the Parcel Tax? 
Answer: The original Municipal Service Tax (MST) was passed by the Piedmont voters in 
1980 for ONE reason only. It was for the much needed, critical seismic Capital Improvements & Repairs 
of the unsafe Piedmont Fire Station building. 
That was it! Not for other services.

The MST original intent was never meant to continue and fund Piedmont’s General fund,
 Salaries, outrageous Pensions, Safety Services or Financial blunders.

How much do I pay for the Parcel Tax? 
99% of all cities assess parcel tax apportionment on an equal rate per parcel or on 
equal price per square foot of the total lot. Piedmont does not use this standard.  
Piedmont is an uncommon ANOMALY in how it parcel taxes its citizens.  
Piedmont leaders have “fixed it” so that the smallest lot owners always pay the most tax.

Answer: Per sq ft the smallest lots pay the most tax (18 cents) and largest lots pay the 
least tax (3/4 of 1 cent).  That is a 24 to 1 ratio in favor of the large lot owners.
  It’s the same old Piedmont “Two-Tiered” treatment of its own citizens.  
1/4 of the smallest lot homes in Piedmont, under 5,000 sq ft, are paying $366 each.
  1/2 of the medium lot homes in Piedmont, under 9,999 sq ft, are paying $411 each. 
But the larger estate lots of over 20,000 sq ft are not paying their FAIR & EQUAL share.

There are 165 residential lots in Piedmont that are well over 20,000 sq ft.
  Some Piedmont lots are 2,000 sq ft and estate lots are as large as 80,000 sq ft.
  In Piedmont, a 2,000 sq ft lot homeowner pays $366 (18 cents per sq ft) and an 
80,000 sq ft lot pays a measly $617 (3/4 of 1 cent per sq ft).   That’s inequitable.
  The 2000 sq ft lot is 1/40th the size but pays taxes that are 24 times higher per sq ft.

The mega estate lots up on Seaview, Glen Alpine, Sotelo, etc. are unfairly being financially
 subsidized by the tax payers who live on the smaller parcels. This is not right.

Why is your Vote Important? 
Over the last few years, under Mayor Friedman, Barbieri and Chiang, the
 City of Piedmont has squandered over 4 million dollars of the tax payers monies. 
Between the PHUUD ($2.5 million), Crest Road ($296,000), Kurtin Lawsuit ($625,000), 
Blair Park ($400.000), Pool ($200,000), phony Sewer Tax, bloated Pensions, etc, etc…….
Ironically, most of these lost monies benefited, only those up in the Estate Zone.
  This was all much needed money that could have gone to the schools for our children.

It is time for the Municipal Service Tax Gravy Train to quietly sunset and expire.  
No more tax money for two-tiered treatment, bad service, poor performance & bad results.

As a 58 year resident of Piedmont, I urge you to…….VOTE NO on Measure Y in November.

Neil Teixeira, 
Piedmont Resident

Editors Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.  The Piedmont Civic Association does not support or oppose candidates or ballot measures.

One Response to “OPINION: The Original Intent of the City Parcel Tax”

  1. Is there a way for the parcel tax to be revised so that it’s the same for all households in Piedmont. Also, I’m okay with having paid greater than my share over the years, but I would like the other tier of homeowners to have to go back and ante up what they have ‘saved’ over the life of the two-tiered parcel tax, by paying back what they have saved.

    I am voting No on Measure Y because the Piedmont City Council has been careless and negligent with our tax money, and they have endorsed the two-tiered parcel tax system in a non-transparent manner making me not trust their ethics.

    I am voting no on Measure Y because of the two-tiered parcel tax assessment policy, and because, in my opinion, for years the numerous elected Piedmont City Council members have kept this quiet, which is not ethical.

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