League of Women Voters of California
Municipal Services and Capital Improvements Levy
Town of Atherton
Special Tax - 2/3 Approval Required
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
Shall an ordinance entitled "An Ordinance of the Town of Atherton Authorizing the Levy of a Special Tax for Municipal Services and Capital Improvements and for the Expenditure of Funds Derived from such Tax," and numbered 520 be adopted?
INITIATIVE - AUTHORIZES SPECIAL TAX TO FINANCE MUNICIPAL SERVICES AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
This initiative Measure proposes to add a new ordinance to the Ordinance Code of the Town of Atherton that would allow the City Council to impose a Special Tax on Real Property to finance Municipal Services, such as police protection, street repair and maintenance, drainage facility repair and maintenance, and capital improvements where other sources of revenue are not sufficient because of restraints imposed by Article XIIIA of the California Constitution also known as Proposition 13. The ordinance would correspondingly increase the appropriations limit under article XIIIB of the California Constitution.
The City Council must conduct a duly noticed public hearing on proposed tax after adoption of the annual budget. The tax may not exceed the total amount of expenditures necessary to provide adequate levels of municipal services and capital improvements, as determined by the City Council, after deducting the projected revenue to be gathered from sources other than the Special Tax.
The tax on individual parcels may not, however, exceed in any year the amounts set forth in Section 4 of the proposed ordinance.
The tax will be a lien on individual parcels and may be collected by the Town or the County Tax Collector at the option of the City Council.
Any monies raised by this Special Tax may be used only for said municipal services and capital improvements. In accordance with Article XIIIB of the California Constitution, all revenues received in a fiscal year and the fiscal year following it in excess of the Town's appropriations limits during that fiscal year and the fiscal year immediately following it shall be returned by a revision of tax rates or fee schedules within the next two subsequent fiscal years.
Authority to levy this tax will commence with the tax year 2001-2002 and will expire with the tax year 2004-2005, and may only be amended or repealed by a two-thirds vote of the people.
|Arguments For Measure F||Arguments Against Measure F|
|Much in our Town has changed this past year. We have a Council that is committed to financial and administrative oversight, openness, responsiveness and accountability. The budget is balanced. The Town is under new management. Wasteful practices have been successfully challenged and eliminated. Extensive changes, recommended by our new auditors and recently constituted audit committee, composed of highly qualified citizens, are being implemented.
In the midst of this progress, it is vital for the well-being of our Town that outstanding and sometimes long-neglected issues finally be addressed. We have proven our commitment to restoring your trust. We now need your help to provide funds necessary to complete the job. We need your support of the parcel tax.
Atherton is unique as a residential community without any commercial business to generate significant sales tax revenue. Parcel tax funds, approximately $1.6 million, are needed for - and will be committed to - four specific areas:
Boundaries. The rest of us, however, value other pursuits. Variety is the spice of life, after all. A civil society requires that we draw and respect boundaries. In California, the 1% per year property tax is an easily recognized line that has served both taxpayers and governments well.
When governments covet the citizens' wealth on the other side of that line, and seek special exceptions for special taxes, they do civilization a disservice. Respect for boundaries is diminished and democracy is reduced to an unseemly chaos of special interest initiatives and special tax measures.
Every time one special tax passes, two more go on the ballot. There is no limit, once respect for boundaries is broken down.
This election, it's an extra $2400 per parcel (over 4 years). What comes next?
Let's keep the river of government within its banks. Vote 'No' on F. Stick to a budget.
|This is NOT a referendum on the value of storm drains, etc. We all want our public services to be adequately funded and well-run - and that's why we ALREADY pay property taxes. Last year, Atherton taxpayers paid $27 million in property taxes. That's more than Belmont or Pacifica - cities with much larger populations and more challenging terrain
The claim that we need a special tax to pay employees wages comparable to neighboring cities is absurd. Atherton's tax base is nearly triple the county average per parcel already.
Local property tax growth has far outstripped inflation in each of the last 8 years - up 10% in 1997, 10% again in 1998, 10% yet again in 1999 and 11% in 2000! (http://www.care.co.sanmateo.ca.us/assessor/)
Residents rejected this levy in 1999 and 2000. Since 1999, annual property taxes have increased by $5 million (from $22 million to $27 million). If the town really did need an extra $1.6 million then, it surely doesn't need it now.
This IS a vote on workings within a budget. Does the Town really need more money than we already give it in property and sales taxes? We say 'No'!
We need to keep this issue in perspective. To compare Atherton to Belmont and Pacifica is misguided. These municipalities receive a majority of their revenue from commercial businesses in the form of sales tax. Atherton has chosen not to have a business district. Only an insignificant amount of sales tax is raised from the few home-based businesses in Town.
We say that Atherton has changed this past year. The Town now has a more complete annual audit process. Wasteful expenses have been eliminated. Gasoline, telephone, credit card and even routine legal bills have been drastically reduced. Atherton's financial practices and costs are regularly scrutinized by City Council and the citizen-based Audit Committee.
For the first time ever, revenue from this special tax will be placed in a completely separate account. This is to ensure that funds will be spent primarily on maintaining what we have, keeping our roads and drainage system in stable, usable condition and fairly compensating our staff. You have our word.
(The Libertarian Party opposing this measure is a group which opposes essentially all tax measures in San Mateo County. Neither signatory is an Atherton resident.)
|Text for Measure F|
ORDINANCE NO. 520
AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF ATHERTON CALLING AN ELECTION TO SUBMIT TO THE VOTERS AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE LEVY OF A SPECIAL TAX FOR MUNICIPAL SERVICES AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS, AND FOR THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS DERIVED FROM SUCH TAX
The City Council of the Town of Atherton does hereby ordain as follows:
SECTION 1. ELECTION CALLED. The City Council of the Town of Atherton submits the following ordinance to the voters of the Town of Atherton at an election to be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2001.
SECTION 2. FULL TEXT OF MEASURE. The complete text of the proposed ordinance shall be:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF ATHERTON AUTHORIZING THE LEVY OF A SPECIAL TAX FOR MUNICIPAL SERVICES AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AND FOR THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS DERIVED FROM SUCH TAX
The people of the Town of Atherton do ordain as follows:
SECTION 1. AUTHORITY TO ADOPT MEASURE. This ordinance and the tax authorized herein are adopted pursuant to the provisions of the California Constitution, Articles XIIIA section 4, XIIIB section 4 and XIIIC section 2, and pursuant to Sections 50075, 50076, 50077 and 53722 et. seq. of the California Government Code.
SECTION 2. AUTHORIZATION TO LEVY SPECIAL TAX. If, in any fiscal year commencing July, 2001, the City Council shall determine that municipal services such as police protection, street repair and maintenance, drainage facility repair and maintenance are necessary for the public good, welfare, and safety, and that the cost of providing such services will exceed the amount of funds generated through other revenue and income which are counted under the limit of the Town for such services calculated in accordance with the provisions of Article XIIIB of the California Constitution, as provided for in the adopted budget, and/or if capital improvements are required, the cost of which exceeds the amount of funds generated through other revenues and receipts, and/or if amounts should be required to augment operational and capital needs of the Town, then it may levy a special tax for such fiscal year on each parcel of property within the Town in the manner provided herein. This special tax shall be in addition to the annual tax rate allowed by law.
SECTION 3. DETERMINATION OF AMOUNT TO BE RAISED. Each year following adoption of the Town's annual budget, the City Council will determine the total amount of expenditures necessary to provide adequate levels of municipal services and capital improvements and deduct therefrom the projected revenue to be gathered from sources other than this special tax. The difference, if any, shall be the maximum amount of funds to be derived from the tax authorized by this ordinance for such year.
SECTION 4. MAXIMUM TAX RATE/METHOD OF ASSESSMENT. After determining the amount of tax to be raised under Section 3, the City Council shall apportion said amount among the parcels of real property within the Town not exempted by law as follows:
The records of the San Mateo County Assessor, as of each year, shall determine whether or not any particular lot is unimproved for purposes of this ordinance.
SECTION 5. HEARING, TAX LIEN AND INCLUSION IN CITY TAXES. Prior to levying a special tax under this ordinance in any fiscal year, the City Council shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed tax. Such hearing shall be conducted after the City Council has adopted an annual budget for that year. Notice of such hearing shall be posted in at least three public places within the Town of Atherton at least fifteen days prior to the hearing. All of the information and material which the City Council intends to consider at such hearing and the amount of tax to be raised shall be made available to the public by being on file in the office of the City Clerk for at least fifteen days prior to said hearing. Following said hearing, the City Council may adopt a resolution fixing the amount of tax to be raised which shall not exceed the amount contained in the material on file in the Clerk's office. Any tax levied under this ordinance shall become a lien upon the properties against which it is assessed and collectible in the manner provided by applicable law and by the levying resolution.
SECTION 6. COLLECTION. The City Council may elect to have any special tax authorized under this Chapter either collected by the Town or, in the alternative, by the Tax Collector of San Mateo County. If the services of the Tax Collector of the County of San Mateo are elected, the special tax may only be included on the annual tax bill set out by such Tax Collector. A certified copy of the resolution electing to use the service of the Tax Collector of San Mateo County shall be filed with said Tax Collector prior to September 1st of the fiscal year for which the tax is assessed and shall include a list of all parcels of real property to be taxed and the amount of each parcel.
SECTION 7. INCREASE APPROPRIATIONS LIMIT. Pursuant to California Constitution Article XIIIB, the appropriations limit for the Town of Atherton will be increased by one and one-half times the aggregate sum authorized to be levied as a special tax in each of the years covered by this ordinance.
SECTION 8. FUNDING AND EXPENDING PROCEEDS. Proceeds of any tax levied under this ordinance shall be deposited in a Special Fund and expended only for the purposes stated in this ordinance.
SECTION 9. UNEXPENDED RESIDUE. In accordance with Section 2(b) of Article XIIIB of the California Constitution, all revenues received by the Town in a fiscal year and the fiscal year immediately following it in excess of the amount which may be appropriated by the Town in compliance with Article XIIIB during that fiscal year and the fiscal year immediately following it shall be returned by a revision of tax rates or fee schedules within the next two subsequent fiscal years.
SECTION 10. SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this ordinance of the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid such invalidity shall not affect any other provision or applications, and to this end the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable.
SECTION 11. DURATION AMENDMENT OR REPEAL. The authorization to levy a tax under this ordinance shall commence with the Fiscal Year 2001-2002, beginning July 1, 2001 and shall continue through and including June 30, 2005. This ordinance or any provision thereof may only be amended or repealed by approval of two-thirds of the voters voting on the proposition at any initiative or referendum election.
This ordinance shall be adopted if approved as an initiative measure by two-thirds of the voters voting at a consolidation election to be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2001, and go into effect ten (10) days after the City Council has, by resolution, declared that such initiative measure was approved by two-thirds of the voters voting thereon.
SECTION 3. CONDENSED STATEMENT OF MEASURE. The manner in which the proposed measure shall appear on the ballot shall be:
"Shall an ordinance entitled "An Ordinance of the Town of Atherton Authorizing the Levy of a Special Tax for Municipal Services and Capital Improvements and for the Expenditure of Funds Derived from such Tax, and numbered 520 be adopted?"
SECTION 4. PUBLICATION. This ordinance shall be posted in at least three public places within the Town of Atherton, and shall become effective immediately upon its passage and approval. The City Clerk is authorized and directed to give notice of election in accordance with Chapter 2 (commencing with section 12100) of Division 12 of the California Elections Code.
SECTION 5. CONSOLIDATION. The election on the proposed ordinance shall be consolidated with any and all other elections to be held on June 5, 2001.
SECTION 6. SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid such invalidity shall not affect any other provision or application, and to this end the provisions of the ordinance are declared to be severable.
SECTION 7. EFFECTIVE DATE. This ordinance calling an election shall become effective immediately upon its adoption by the City Council of the Town of Atherton.