AUSD Parcel Tax Heading to Court

Same plaintiffs bring same beefs to same judge

Last week, David Brillant, attorney for the plaintiffs in the 2008 Measure H lawsuit Borikas v. AUSD, breathed new life into the case by filing a trial brief with the court. Brillant's brief reminds the court that the Measure H tax is not "uniform taxation across different commercial property owners in keeping with the legislative interpretations of California Government Code section 50079."

Brillant argues that Measure H provides for differential tax rates on commercial properties, based on the properties' size. For example, the measure calls for commercial property owners with parcels from 2, 000 square feet to 63,333 square feet pay a tax of 15 cents per square foot per year.

In his brief, Brillant points to a pair of discrepancies that support his claim of non-uniform taxation.He reminded the court "a commercial property owner in Alameda with 100,000-square-foot parcel would pay only $9,500, or $0.11 per square foot; while a commercial property owner with a 1,900 square foot parcel would pay the minimum $120 per year, or $0.16 per square foot.

Last year, Judge Kenneth Burr rejected a motion for summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs; now the case will go to trial. Burr's decision in this case could affect AUSD's new Measure E. On March 15, the Alameda Unified School District's Board of Trustees approved a resolution to put Measure E on the ballot.

The measure would replace the parcel taxes enacted in Measures H and A with a new tax.

The new tax would cost residential property owners $659/year, compared to the current combined tax of $309/year for residential owners.

The school district offices were closed for spring break and as of deadline no one was available for comment.


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