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AUSD Announces Parcel Tax Ballot Measure for March 2011

In a press release this morning, the Alameda Unified School District announced that last night, at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board voted unanimously to put a parcel tax on the March 2011 ballot which would run for seven years and replace Measures A and H.

The details were largely unchanged from the proposal reviewed by the Board of Trustees a week ago. All parcels would be taxed at the rate of 32 cents on the building square footage of property on a parcel. For example, a homeowner with a 2,000 square foot home would pay $640/year, or roughly twice what that homeowner pays currently under Measures A and H. The District says that the median home in Alameda is 1,600 square feet and would be taxed $512/year, or 1.6 times as much as that homeowner currently pays. Recently, Action Alameda News sampled a number of homes across Alameda and estimated their annual tax based on the then-proposed rate of 31.7 cents per square foot and found that homeowners would see tax increases ranging from 7% to over 300%

The proposal also includes a cap on the amount of tax that any property owner would pay, set at $7,900. The cap means that property owners with more than 24,687 square feet of building improvements on their parcel would pay a lower effective tax rate for every square foot above the cap. For example, Action Alameda News estimated that Alameda Towne Centre, the largest retail shopping center in the city, with 706,000 square feet of retail space, would pay about one cent per square foot. Owners of parcels without building improvements would pay a flat rate of $299/year.

The District hopes to raise roughly $12 million/year through the tax, which will be decided by voters in a March 8th special election, wherein voters can choose to vote by mail or vote in-person at a polling place. The District estimates the election will cost $5 to $7 per registered voter, or as much as $294,000 based on approximately 42,000 registered voters in the city.

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