Piedmont voters will decide in November whether to renew the city's municipal services tax ("parcel tax"). The measure, which will appear on the ballot as Measure Y, requires two-thirds approval to pass.
Groups for and against Measure Y submitted written arguments to City Clerk John Tulloch last week. Rebuttals to those arguments were due in the City Clerk's office by Aug. 27 and were published on the City of Piedmont website late Monday afternoon.
REBUTTAL ARGUMENT - MEASURE Y
The proponents are misrepresenting the MTRC position. The MTRC unanimously recognized that "passing the current parcel tax without addressing expense commitments is not fiscally prudent." The MTRC supplemental statement delineated expectations for the Council to control expenses, manage risk and set budget priorities before seeking tax renewal. Because the Council has made inadequate progress on critical expectations, the MTRC majority opposes Measure Y.
Despite dangerously low reserves, the Council wasted millions on undergrounding, the pool takeover, Blair Park, and uncontrolled fringe benefits. Piedmont's police and fire services cost 50-75% more per household than in comparable small, affluent cities. In the past two years, the MTRC, Budget Advisory Committee and Undergrounding Task Force have given the Council a road map to fiscal soundness, yet the Council still hasn’t acted on these groups' most important recommendations. Piedmont’s voters must now force the issue by demonstrating they don't support poor financial decisions and wasteful spending.
Scare tactics aside, essential services are NOT at stake. The parcel tax provides only 7% of the City’s budget. The Council can ask for the parcel tax renewal again, after instituting needed reforms and regaining our confidence, and seek service efficiencies now while phasing in benefit reforms. Piedmont cannot afford to let the Council “kick the can down the road.” If the Council continues to delay reforms, the possible consequences could be serious, including inability to meet obligations to our citizens and valued employees.
Put the brakes on the Council’s wasteful spending. Vote NO on Measure Y.
Michael Rancer, Chair, Municipal Tax Review Committee
Mary B. Heller, Member, Task Force on Undergrounding
Kathleen Quenneville, Member, Task Force on Undergrounding
Tim Rood, Member, Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee
Rick Schiller, Piedmont Taxpayer
Rebuttal to argument opposing Measure Y
For over three decades, Piedmont voters have supported the Municipal Services parcel tax which provides essential funding to maintain municipal services: police, fire, library services, paramedics, recreation, street repair and maintenance, and parks.
The opponents to Measure Y want to eliminate this critical source of funding because they are unhappy with the way Piedmont is managed. They believe that the way to get their way is to cut $1.6 million from our community budget — money that even they have described as essential to the running of the city. The following quote is from the Municipal Tax Review Committee:
“Parcel tax revenue has become an essential component of the City's fiscal picture. ... it will be essential to renew the parcel tax at its current level ..." Municipal Tax Review Committee Chair: Michael Rancer
Measure Y is not a new tax — it just extends the current tax. Without Measure Y Piedmont will face significant cuts to city services. Countless meetings will be held and, in the end, it is likely that service levels will be reduced or the city will not set aside funds for replacement and repair of assets.
This measure has nothing to do with undergrounding, play fields or pensions. It is merely an extension of a tax we have been paying for 32 years.
Vote YES on Measure Y because you value the services our City provides to the community. Every dollar stays in Piedmont to benefit all Piedmonters and the quality of life we enjoy.
John Y. Chiang
Chair, Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee
Mary M. Geong
Member, Budget Advisory Advisory and Financial Planning Committee
Member, Municipal Tax Review Committee