Sales Tax 2020
The Orinda City Council is placing a measure on the November 2020 ballot for a one percent sales tax on all sales in Orinda plus purchases of major items (i.e. motor vehicles registered in Orinda).
This tax is will replace the half percent tax currently in place and double the annual $1.2 million revenue. The new $2.4 million in revenue (costing the average Orinda household $350 annually) will then increase with inflation for the 20-year term of the tax, ultimately generating over $60 million in revenue.
This sales tax will be a “general” tax meaning its use will be at the discretion of the City Council.
There is currently a renewed awareness by the community that the City is at an extreme risk for wildfire which has ravaged several California cities in the past few years as it destroyed 3,300 homes and killed 25 souls in the Oakland hills in 1991.
Acknowledging this desire to address the problem, the City staff suggested that $500-750,000 of the $2.4 million annual sales tax be allocated to fire prevention for the first 3-4 years and then that allocation be scaled back. The remainder (85-90 percent) of the $60+ million in sales tax receipts would be used for public road and storm drain maintenance.
While the City Council will not and cannot claim it to be, this is an infrastructure tax with a tiny (and insufficient) nod to Wildfire Prevention.
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