Politics

Editorial: Very high Piedmont taxes should be prudently managed


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Betsy Smegal Andersen (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

Perhaps it’s hard to feel sorry for homeowners in the upscale city of Piedmont. But, truly, the special property taxes for the city and the school district are extraordinary.

So, it’s only fair to expect that city officials will responsibly manage that money. They hadn’t in the past.

That began to change in 2012. Today, the City Council is taking a much more prudent approach.

Tim Rood (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

Exceptionally lucrative pensions are no longer offered to new employees. Workers who previously paid almost nothing toward their pensions now make a reasonable contribution. And city officials have taken steps to begin paying down retirement debt.

Voters should reward that responsible approach by re-electing council members Tim Rood and Teddy Gray King, and electing appointed-Councilwoman Betsy Smegal Andersen to a full term. They all have a firm understanding of city finances.

The fourth candidate, Sunny Bostrom-Fleming, is running to highlight her concerns about public safety but says she has no expectation of winning.

Teddy Gray King (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

There remain fiscal challenges ahead. Piedmont has about $46 million of debt for underfunded pension and retiree health programs.

Meanwhile, average homeowners pay about $1,200 for extra city taxes for municipal operations and sewer services. That’s on top of the school district levy for an average home of more than $4,000 annually for operations and construction bond debt payments.

And when residents go to sell their houses, they pay some of the highest transfer taxes in the state, in which the city takes 1.3 percent of the sales price.

For all that, residents deserve a well-run and responsibly managed city. Rood, King and Andersen are the best candidates to do that.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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