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City Publishes FAQ on June Sales Tax Measure

The Q&A about Measure C is available on the City of Alameda website

By Alexander Nguyen
Deputy City Manager, Alameda

The City of Alameda has published on its website a “Frequently Asked Questions” bulletin about the Public Safety and 911 Emergency Response Measure, or Measure C.

 The bulletin answers 20 questions such as Why do we need this tax? How can we be sure the City won't squander the money on something other than facilities and equipment? And who will check to be sure the City is obeying the law?

 “There is a great deal of misinformation about what Measure C actually does, and misunderstanding about what it doesn’t do,” said City Manager John Russo. “The City published this FAQ to provide the true facts so Alameda residents can evaluate Measure C for themselves.”

Russo said that Alameda residents and merchants should contact him directly with their questions. His email address is jrusso@ci.alameda.ca.us The City will add any additional frequently asked questions to the bulletin.

The FAQ is at http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/Measure-C

a94501er April 04, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Interesting ... lots of big talk about "increase funding for the City's aging facilities and its public safety infrastructure", but they rank LAST in the order of priorities. Anybody else see a disconnect? Yet another reason to vote NO. " City staff will be recommending that the City Council prioritize bond proceeds as follows: Carnegie Library (Estimate: $3.5 million) 50-meter pool with locker and bath facilities (Estimate: $5 million) Lighted, all-weather multi-purpose sports field (Estimate City contribution: $1 million) Fire Station #3 and Emergency Operations Center (Estimate: $4.5 million) "
a94501er April 04, 2012 at 04:59 AM
If all the tax initiatives pass, this is what we are looking at: Existing rate: 8.75% Measure C: half cent (June ballot) Alameda County transportation: half cent (Nov ballot) CA tax increase: half-cent (Nov ballot) Total: 10.25% YIKES!!!
Michael April 04, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I don't see a cent in here for fixing our broken sidewalks and roads. Why is building a swimming pool called an emergency response measure?
a94501er April 04, 2012 at 06:42 PM
@Michael, and why does the sports field rank higher than the fire station? Really stupid that the "Public Safety and 911 Emergency Response Measure" would rank the fire station LAST! Tells me that this isn't really about 911, but just a cover for some pet projects (classic Alameda-style politics).
Preserving Alameda April 04, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Measure "C" will keep Alameda safe by modernizing 911 emergency response to maintain neighborhood crime patrols, fire protection, earthquake preparedness; replaces a condemned fire station in the heart of Alameda; repairs three aging fire stations, a citywide Emergency Operations Center, and constructs a training facility for our first responders and Citizens Emergency Response Teams. Measure "C" replaces outdated police and fire vehicles that have been used beyond their service life. These facilities are vital to protecting Alameda residents during an earthquake, or other disaster. Cultural and recreational opportunities are important components to Alameda’s quality of life, for everyone, especially our youth. Measure "C" rebuilds unsafe facilities such as the Carnegie Library, Alameda’s Swim Center, and pays for the construction of an all-weather, lighted sports field for our community. More importantly ever single cent generated by Measure C stays local. For more info please visit us at www.preservingalameda.com or yesoncforalameda.com. You can also find us on Facebook.
Jeff Mark April 04, 2012 at 08:44 PM
I don't dispute the projects and programs this may fund, I don't take issue with the priorities expressed therein. I don't like sales taxes (I don't like consumption taxes in general). We rely way too much on them, they are the most regressive form of taxation, and the current struggling recovery is a terrible time for a consumption tax. I cannot support this. I'd rather see a property tax increase; not some weaselly "temporary fee" or "surcharge". If these services are as important as is being argued, then an increase in property taxes is appropriate, and in all likelihood more efficient.
Bernice April 04, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Jeff, We just had a property tax increase (remember Measure A). Leave us property owners out of it.
Chuck April 05, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Good to know you are an optimist and believe all the regional measures should pass to raise the sales tax rate, but not one for your own local city.
Chuck April 05, 2012 at 12:35 AM
But parcel taxes are more regressive than sales tax, since there are no sales taxes on services, food or shelter.
a94501er April 05, 2012 at 04:05 AM
@Chuck, you must not be able to read. I didn't say anything of that sort ...
a94501er April 05, 2012 at 04:07 AM
@PA, quit the canned response and instead tell us why Fire station is DEAD LAST in the list of priorities for a measure that is supposed to be modernizing 911 response. Sheeple, c'mon ... it is not that difficult to think for yourself.
Jeff Mark April 05, 2012 at 08:22 AM
I own my home, btw, just so no one misunderstands. I'm supporting raising my property taxes rather than raising the sales tax.
John Russo April 05, 2012 at 02:44 PM
To clarify something that the anonymous A94501er is misunderstanding or misstating: Fire Station #3 is not "last" on the list. All four of the projects this anonymous commenter is listing (Fire Station #3/EOC, Pool, Multipurpose Field, and Carnegie Library) will be recommended to Council as immediate construction projects to be funded first through bond proceeds so as to capture unusually low construction costs in this slack economy. That list could just as easily have started with Fire Station #3 at the top. More than 2/3 of the money planned to be raised by this Measure is slated for public safety equipment and facilities.
John Russo April 05, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Jeff-- I understand your concern about sales taxes being regressive; however, sales taxes do NOT apply to groceries, housing, and services such as medical and dental. The overwhelming majority of expenses for working and low-income families fall in these three categories. Consequently, sales taxes are much less regressive in practice than they are in theory. Certainly, sales taxes are much less regressive than, for example, parcel taxes. People can make decisions to avoid sales tax items to a greater extent than they can avoid property taxes, which are passed along to renters -- again, the most vulnerable group financially. As a former Legal Aid consumer attorney, I very much understand where you are coming from, but I don't think the matter is as clear cut as you are presenting. Best wishes, John
Michael April 05, 2012 at 04:35 PM
How many additional police will the Emergency Response Measure put on the street?
dave April 05, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Thank you, Mr Russo. I often disagree with you and have a particular dislike for the process by which you got your job. Howvere I appreciate and greatly respect your willingness to directly communicate with citizens, as you do here. Would that your dias-mates joined you...
dave April 05, 2012 at 04:41 PM
dais-mates, that is
Michael April 05, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Then please clarify FAQ 20 as its wording implies a prioritized list: City staff will be recommending that the City Council prioritize bond proceeds as follows: · Carnegie Library (Estimate: $3.5 million) · 50-meter pool with locker and bath facilities (Estimate: $5 million) · Lighted, all-weather multi-purpose sports field (Estimate City contribution: $1 million) · Fire Station #3 and Emergency Operations Center (Estimate: $4.5 million)
a94501er April 05, 2012 at 06:28 PM
John, whoa there! I am NOT misstating anything. That was a cut & paste from the FAQ. I would've assumed you read through the FAQ before replying to my post. Here is that section again (in verbatim): " City staff will be recommending that the City Council prioritize bond proceeds as follows: Carnegie Library (Estimate: $3.5 million) 50-meter pool with locker and bath facilities (Estimate: $5 million) Lighted, all-weather multi-purpose sports field (Estimate City contribution: $1 million) Fire Station #3 and Emergency Operations Center (Estimate: $4.5 million) " Any reasonable reader would assume a sentence that has "prioritize as follows", with an item list would proceed to read them in descending order of importance.
Chuck April 05, 2012 at 09:01 PM
I do more than just read, I think about what you are saying. In order for your total to reach 10.25%, people need to pass the state and regional sales tax measures in November. Measure C is the only measure which stays completely in Alameda.
John Russo April 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
To a94501er: You are correct. When I wrote the section you reference I meant to say that the City would advance that group of projects ahead of the others by using bond proceeds. I can see your point about the ambiguity I inadvertently created by how I wrote that section. I will correct it by close of business April 10 and I thank you for the assistance. Best wishes, John Russo
a94501er April 09, 2012 at 08:02 PM
John, thanks for clarifying!

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