Parcel taxes are applied uniformly across all parcels in Orinda.  There are about 7,500 parcels in Orinda of which about 6,700 are homes.  A new parcel tax must be approved by 2/3rds of all voters.  Every property owner pays the same tax regardless of property value; assessed or market.  Special rates can be adopted for "special use" properties (commercial; retail; multi-unit residential; etc.)

 A $530 ($1.50 per day) Parcel Tax would generate $4,000,000 per year.  If this was increased by inflation (2.5%) each year starting in 2017 and continued for 25 years, this would fund all needed repairs ($45 million more that there are currently funds for) and adequate maintenance through 2041.

If the Parcel Tax was coupled with a extension of the existing sales tax, the tax could be reduced to $440 per parcel.

Currently Orinda property owners pay $11 million annually in parcel taxes ($1,500 per home) in addition to $64 million in ad valorem property taxes (based on assessed values) and $18 million in sales taxes.

A parcel tax requires a 2/3 majority of the voters to pass.

Pros

  • Everyone understands it
  • Easy to administer
  • Fixed revenue stream
  • Voters only pay the tax while they live here then pass it on to the new buyers
  • Tax can increase over time (inflation indexed)
  • Can be used to service a bond or for a “pay-as-you-go” (PayGo) basis
  • Virtually everyone in Orinda is a property owner so everyone pays the same

Cons

  • Voters only pay the tax while they live here then pass it on to the new buyers
  • With increasing debt service, the obligation to future taxpayers is maximized
  • If a Parcel Tax is used to repay a bond, 2/3 of the current voters who have lived here the longest (over eight years), will only pay 17 pecent of the total cost of the bond.  The newest homeowners will pay the remaining 83 percent.
  • 2/3 majority required for passage
  • Parcel taxes already account for 11% ($10 million) of our total local taxes.

Note: A spreadsheet of funding option projections is available