Oakland parcel tax heads for ballot

July 20, 2011 1:52:20 PM PDT
The Oakland City Council voted 7-1 Tuesday to place on a November ballot an $80-per-year parcel tax that would raise $11 million a year for the next five years to help maintain city services.

The measure will go before the city's voters in a special all-mail election on Nov. 15. The lone dissenting vote at the council's meeting Tuesday night was cast by Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan first proposed the parcel tax at the beginning of March and had initially hoped that it would be placed on the ballot in June if a special statewide election were held, but that didn't happen.

Quan's spokesman Sue Piper said today that the mayor is "very glad the measure will be on the ballot" in November. It must be approved by two-thirds of voters to pass.

Piper said it is now "time for the community to do its share" in helping the city balance its budget. She pointed out that city workers recently agreed to $23 million in concessions to help the city close its $58 million funding shortfall.

She said the measure, which would levy a tax of $80 per single-family unit, would only cost Oakland residents about 25 cents a day.

Piper said money from the tax would allow the city to have another police academy and to maintain staffing levels, keep libraries and recreation centers open, restore some of the senior center hours that were cut recently and restore some park maintenance crews.

Piper said revenue from the tax also would allow the city to rehire some employees who were laid off on July 1 when the City Council made cuts that helped the city balance its budget.

When Quan proposed the parcel tax in March, she said she thought it had a good chance of passing because it asks for less than the $360-per-parcel tax proposed by Measure X in the Nov. 2 election.

Voters shot down that measure, with just 28 percent voting in favor of the extra expense.

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