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Letter: Support for Renewing the Parcel Tax

Piedmont residents Rick and Amal Smith urge a "yes" vote on Measure Y.

Editor: 

We are writing to support the renewal of the Municipal Services Parcel Tax (Measure Y) because we believe we cannot afford to abandon this important revenue source for our city. For over 30 years Piedmont voters have supported this tax which provides a locally-controlled revenue stream to the city General Fund to help support a wide variety of services. The services we expect and rely on are a big part of what makes Piedmont a jewel in the Bay area.

The issue at hand is whether we should continue to fund the services we want in our city, not whether we like or approve of every decision made by our City Council or city staff. Those who oppose renewing the parcel tax—some of whom seem to have been for it before they were against it—are employing red herrings and other distractions by trying to link their dissatisfaction with public decision making to renewing funding for services.  

From where we sit it seems like a classic example of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Voting against renewing the parcel tax will not punish the decision makers, nor reform city decision making; rather, it will harm individual residents of Piedmont with service cutbacks.  If Piedmont residents want to do something about local governance, they should focus on that.  To focus their anger and frustration on an essential revenue stream is misguided and will contribute to a decrease in the quality of life for Piedmont citizens.

Let’s assure that Piedmont remains the high quality city we have all come to appreciate and join us by voting yes on Measure Y. 

Rick and Amal Smith
Piedmont 

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Rick Schiller October 14, 2012 at 06:51 AM
Cutting off your nose to spite your face is a false comparison to failure of the parcel tax; self-mutilation is generally permanent whereas a failed parcel tax can always be put on a subsequent ballot if needed. Noses are not so easily resurrected. As failure of the parcel tax will not result in any loss of essential services, there will be no pain by tax failure unlike self-inflicted and badly botched rhinoplasty.
Neil Teixeira October 14, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Measure Y Victimizes Smaller Households Piedmont parcel taxes apportionment is skewed, bias and unequal. It should be on a equal price per square foot of the total lot size. Piedmont is a "two-tiered City" in how it levies parcel taxation on its own Citizen's. City leaders have "fixed it" so that the smallest lot owners are burdened & saddled with a "disproportionate" share of all City parcel taxes. Smallest lots (2951) that are under 10,000 sq ft (52%-409 acres) pay 71% of all the parcel taxes. Largest lots (823) over 10,000 sq ft (48%-381 acres) pay only 26% of the parcel taxes. The largest lots are getting a "sweetheart deal" and pay the least parcel taxes. Piedmont house lots are 2000 sq ft to massive estate lots that are 80,000 sq ft. Example: In Piedmont (for Measure Y) a 2000 sq ft lot homeowner pays $ 366 (18 cents per sq ft) and a 80,000 sq ft lot pays $ 617 (3/4 of 1 cent per sq ft). The 2000 sq ft lot is 1/40th the size but pays taxes that are 24 X higher per sq ft. The larger affluent lots consume more city services: more asphalt, more sidewalks, more tree trimming, more street sweeping, more sewers, etc...... The Piedmont sliding parcel tax........victimizes the modest household owners. This City Council needs to "pass a resolution" that all parcel tax levies needs to be based......on a flat rate fee.......per square foot of total lot coverage. I urge everyone to.............. VOTE NO on Measure Y. Neil Teixeira

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