Piedmont Sewer Parcel Tax Surcharge, Measure A (February 2012)

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A Piedmont Sewer Parcel Tax Surcharge, Measure A ballot question was on the February 7, 2012 ballot for voters in the City of Piedmont in Alameda County, where it was defeated.[1]

A parcel tax that helps fund Piedmont's sewer system is already in force. It was approved in 2000. That tax tripled what residents had previously been paying as a sewer tax. It results in revenues to the city each year of about $1 million.[2]

If Measure A had been approved, a 50% surcharge would have been added to that existing tax for 10 years.

The parcel tax surcharge, if approved, would have been added to sewer tax bills starting in 2012-2013. It would have amounted to an increase of $236 to $425 per parcel.[3]

Piedmont's Municipal Tax Review Committee recommended the surtax after the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued a 2011 Stipulated Order that sets forth various sewer monitoring and rehabilitation requirements for all East Bay cities.[3]

The City of Piedmont replaced 60% of its sewer mains from 2000-2005.

Election results

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for approval.

Measure A
Votes Percentage
Yes 2,000 50.65%
No Defeatedd 1,949 49.35%
Election results are from the Alameda County elections office



The official voter guide arguments in favor of Measure A were signed by:

  • Dean Barbieri, Mayor of Piedmont
  • John Chiang, Vice Mayor of Piedmont
  • Valerie Matzger, Former Mayor
  • Michael Rancer, Chair, Municipal Tax Review Committee
  • Bob McBain, Member, Municipal Tax Review Committee

Arguments in favor

The arguments in the official voter guide in favor of Measure A include these statements:

  • "In 2000, Piedmont residents approved a tax which has funded the maintenance, operation, and upgrade of our sewer system. In fact, Piedmont has been improving its aging sewer system for nearly two decades, a project now 60% complete."
  • Since 2000 the regulatory requirements on the City have increased, culminating with a 2011 EPA Order requiring additional rehabilitation, reporting and monitoring of the sewer system. After examining these requirements and Piedmont’s ability to pay for them, the Municipal Tax Review Committee (MTRC), an independent committee of Piedmont residents, unanimously recommended a temporary, ten-year, 50% increase to the sewer tax."
  • "A vote for Measure A is a vote to fulfill Piedmont’s legal and ethical responsibilities to maintain a clean and healthy San Francisco Bay region. By continuing Piedmont’s impressive record of improvement to our sewer system a vote in favor of Measure A is also a vote that makes economic sense and ultimately will save money for Piedmont and its resident."



  • The official voter guide arguments opposing Measure A were signed by Rick Schiller.
  • Piedmont resident Thomas Clark opposes Measure A.[4]

Arguments in opposition

Arguments in the official voter guide in opposition to Measure A include these statements:

  • "Since 1995 Piedmont has replaced 60% of its sewer system. Continuing at the current pace will complete the work by 2023. The Municipal Tax Review Committee plan will advance completion to 2018, well ahead of most East Bay cities. The City is also implementing a new monitoring program as required by Stipulated Orders. By rejecting this 50% increase and using the current sewer tax, the required monitoring programs can be implemented. Piedmont property values are a result of well maintained infrastructures, excellent safety services, outstanding schools and plentiful recreational facilities. Piedmonters value and wish to protect the environment; it is unnecessary to rush sewer system replacement.
  • "The EPA requires testing of new sewer mains and your sewer lateral. The lateral testing is triggered at sale and remodels, plus there are other ongoing monitoring programs that detect residential lateral leaks. If your lateral fails the tests, and many will, the required replacement cost amounts to an indirect tax to homeowners starting at $3000.
  • "Later this year we will be asked to renew both the Municipal Services and School Parcel Taxes. We have some of the highest property taxes in the state, and unquestionably the highest School Tax. Yet generous residents continue to donate significantly to our excellent schools. The important school donations will diminish if family budgets are further burdened by this 50% sewer tax increase. Ultimately this tax increase may shift needed donations from education to sewers.
  • "Piedmonters can continue to honor the environment and maintain a prudent financial balance for the various needs that keep Piedmont great. Continuing the sewer rehabilitation program at a moderate pace will allow additional funding for education, and be a good balance for those on a fixed income. Vote no on this initiative and send a check to the Annual Giving Campaign instead."

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Measure A: Shall Chapter 20F be added to the Piedmont City Code providing for a new 10-year Special Municipal Sewer Surtax, as more specifically set forth in Ord. 699 N.S. which is on file with the Piedmont City Clerk?[5]

See also


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