One thought on “Parcel tax back on the school board agenda

  1. I appreciate that some of my remarks were published. The fundamental issue is in 2012 by the Boricas v Alameda Schools appeal decision, Piedmont had to abandon its partially progressive school based on parcel size and go to a flat rate parcel tax. The School Board did this reluctantly and they believed there was no other viable option at the time. The 2012 flat rate parcel tax raised taxes of small and medium sized parcel taxpayers by about $300; up to 70% of taxpayers were negatively impacted. Very large estates taxes fell by about $1,000 and the few commercial business in Piedmont were taxed at the same flat rate. One example is 340 Highland Avenue where the tax was reduced from $5,052 (2012-2013) to $2,406 (2013-2014).

    Alameda Schools adopted in 2008 and maintained a per square foot of building tax which Piedmont did not adopt. Alameda in 2016 passed the same per square foot tax and in 2017 some of the same Boricas plaintiffs again sued Alameda concerning the square foot of building tax. In 2018 Alameda Schools prevailed in court. The best progressive tax option, square foot of building, has withstood legal challenge and I am hopeful our School Board carefully considers adopting this. The Judge also ordered a flat tax on unimproved parcels.

    Our Board expressed regret in 2012 for having to abandon the progressive school tax. Our current Board is as equally sensitive to the needs of our community, the cost of the high Piedmont tax and will hopefully examine seriously the Alameda type per square foot tax that is also used in other School districts.

    Senior exemptions and income based senior exemptions are used in most School Districts in the State. I cited San Marino because it is the 2nd most expensive school tax at $1,200+ per parcel and I also cited one of the lowest school taxes of West Contra Cost County USD of 7.2 cents per square foot as examples of the range of senior exemption inclusion. Of the top ten Districts in the State, only Piedmont does not have a senior exemption. I believe a straight senior exemption will not work in Piedmont; an income based exemption should be considered.

    Parcels are commonly understood and identified by Assessor Parcel Numbers (“APNs”). Some multi-parcel estates in Piedmont are taxed on all parcels, some are not. Some small parcels on the edge of town are taxed and some are not. There should be uniformity and/or a contiguous parcel exemption.

    Rick Schiller

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