City Invites Property Owners to Pay ‘Fee’
Property owners in Alameda have already received a letter from the city inviting them to attend a public hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Renters in the Island City may not consider this meeting very “public,” however. The city has not included them in the discussions. The city is bypassing the renters by charging the property owners a fee, rather than a tax.
The meeting concerns the city adding a $78 “fee” to the money it already collects from property owners in the form of fees and property taxes. Alameda needs the money to cover what it describes as “water quality and flood protection.”
Property owners who oppose this new fee must submit written objections to the City Clerk. If a majority of the property owners have not objected, the City Council would then authorize the City Council to ask for a “public” vote. Because the city is charging a fee, rather than a tax, state law allows it to include only property owners, who would vote by mail.
The money from the new fee would pay for maintaining storm drains and sweeping streets yet leave $1.2 million available for capital improvements. This money tops off a $56 urban runoff fee that the property owners already pay.