Town of Atherton parcel tax, Measure X (November 2013)

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A Town of Atherton parcel tax, Measure X ballot question was on the November 5, 2013 ballot for voters in the Town of Atherton in San Mateo County, California. It was approved.[1]

Measure X continued an existing parcel tax that was most recently approved as Measure S in November 2009.

A two-thirds supermajority vote was required for approval.

Election results

Measure X
Approveda Yes 1,466 73.4%
These final, certified results are from the San Mateo County elections office (timed out).

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Measure X:

To continue providing funding to maintain neighborhood police patrols and the Town's ability to respond to emergencies, repairing and maintaining streets, and repairing and constructing storm drains, shall an ordinance be adopted to continue a Special Parcel Tax for four years and allowing for the expenditure of funds derived from such tax?[2]


Paul Tonelli explaining why voters should approve Measure X.


  • San Mateo County Democratic Party[3]
  • Mayor Elizabeth Lewis
  • William R. Widmer, Council Member
  • Cary E. Wiest, Council Member
  • James Dobbie, Council Member


Proponents of Measure X had outlined their arguments in the League of Women Voters’ Voter Guide. The arguments included the following:[4]

  • This is not a new tax, but the renewal of a tax which has been approved by voters for over thirty years.
  • The parcel tax revenues aid "public safety and crime prevention services and also fund capital improvements for street, drainage and flood control projects."


The League of Women Voters of California could not identify any opponents or opposing arguments, as stated in their voter's guide.[4]


City Attorney William B. Conners provided an analysis of Measure X:[4]

The California Constitution and state law authorize the voters of a town, by a two-thirds majority, to approve a parcel tax for specified purposes. Since 1980, Atherton voters have approved such a parcel tax 8 times, the last in November 2009. This measure would extend the parcel tax for four years at the current rates for the following purposes: (1) police emergency response services and neighborhood patrols; (2) street repair and maintenance; and (3) drainage facility repair and maintenance. Other governmental services will be paid from other revenue sources, mainly regular property taxes. Before levying the parcel tax each year, the City Council must adopt an annual budget. It must hold a public hearing to establish the need for the proposed tax. The tax may not exceed the amount the City Council determines to be necessary to provide adequate levels of the municipal services and capital improvements described above after deducting the projected revenue to be gathered from other sources. That does not mean there are no other revenue sources that will also be used to fund police and other services. It means that in any given year there is always a strong competition for all of the available funds to pay for municipal services that are important to many residents, and that these additional funds will be used only for the uses set forth above. There is a maximum amount each parcel can be assessed each year as set forth in Section 4 of the Ordinance which is included in the ballot materials. The tax imposed in any year will be collected by the County Tax Collector as part of the annual property tax bill or by the Town itself. Any funds collected shall be placed in a special fund that may be used only for the purposes stated in the ordinance, police and emergency services, and repair and maintenance of streets and storm drains. Use for any other purpose would be illegal. Any tax levied will be a lien on individual parcels. The measure also authorizes the raising of the Town's appropriations limit as permitted by Cal. Const. art XIIIB, §1, the so-called Gann limit, during the time in which this parcel tax is collected so the tax funds may be spent. If approved, authority to levy this tax will commence for fiscal year 2014-2015 and will expire after fiscal tax year 2017-2018.

A "yes" vote is a vote to maintain the Town's special parcel tax at its current levels. A "no" vote is a vote to end the levy of a special parcel tax for the Town. [2]

See also