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Amended School Parcel Tax Measure Would Mean Big Changes in Some Tax Bills

Piedmont's school board will consider major changes to Measure A, the proposed renewal of the school support tax, at tonight's meeting.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated that the appeals court ruling came on Nov. 6. That's incorrect — it was last Thursday, Dec. 6. Thanks to the sharp-eyed reader who alerted use.

Changes to Measure A, the proposed extension of Piedmont's school parcel tax, could make a big difference in local property owners' tax bills — starting next July.

Ballot measure amendments, prompted by a State Appeals Court decision last week, go to the Piedmont Board of Education tonight for a decision.

The amended measure would levy a tax of $2,406 a year on each parcel, regardless of size, and would not distinguish between residential and commercial properties.

That would mean an additional $318 a year over current rates for owners of Piedmont's smallest residential lots and an extra $1,347 a year for undeveloped parcels. Owners of the city's largest residential parcels would see a drop of $1,141 a year, while owners of the largest commercial properties would save $2,899 annually.

The board is holding a special meeting at 7 p.m. today in the City Hall council chambers, 120 Vista Ave., to consider these and other changes to the measure, which received what was supposed to be final approval on Nov. 28.

The other big change is that the new measure would go into effect July 1, 2013, replacing the current Measure B. That's a year earlier than planned and would affect 2013-14 tax bills. The amended measure would still have an eight-year term and would expire June 30, 2021.

Unchanged: an option for an annual inflation index up to 2 percent per year; provisions for a hardship exemption for home owners who reside in their home and are eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI); and oversight by a subcommittee of the district's Budget Advisory Committee.

The scheduled election date of March 5, 2013, would also remain the same.

Piedmont Unified School District Superintendent Constance Hubbard proposed the amended measure after the state's First District Court of Appeal on Dec.. 6 threw out most of an Alameda school parcel tax and ruled that the Alameda Unified School District should have taxed each parcel at the same amount.

Hubbard said in her report to the board that the $2,406 per parcel levy would raise approximately the same amount of money as the previously approved measure, which based the tax on parcel size, usage and whether developed or not.

Here are the levies included in the original Measure A proposal. they would all be replaced by the uniform $2,406 per parcel assessment:

  • Parcel with Single Family Dwelling, 0-4,999 sq. ft. lot $2,088/parcel
  • 5,000-9,999 sq. ft. lot $2,373/parcel
  • 10,000-14,999 sq. ft. lot $2,706/parcel
  • 15,000-19,999 sq. ft. lot $3,107/parcel
  • more than 20,000 sq. ft. lot $3,547/parcel
  • Parcel with Multi-Family Dwellings (multi-family dwellings/unit, all lot sizes) $1,389/unit
  • Multiple Parcel Dwellings $2,281/dwelling
  • Commercial Property 0-10,000 sq. ft. lot $3,547/parcel
  • Commercial lots greater than 10,000 sq. ft. $5,305/parcel
  • Undeveloped Parcel $1,059/parcel

You can see the agenda for tonight's meeting on the PUSD website here and the complete agenda packet with the amended Measure A proposal here. The appeals ourt decision is available here on the Piedmont Civic Association website.

For more information, see "School Board May Change Parcel Tax Measure in Light of Appeals Court Ruling" (Piedmont Patch, Dec. 10, 2012) and "Alameda School Tax Thrown Out"  You may read more about the appeals court case in this article on Alameda Patch and this article on The Alamedan.

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