Watchdog – Another petition filed for business license tax on rental properties in Antioch
Here we go again. A Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition for a Business License Tax on Residential Landlords has been filed by former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas on behalf of members of the “Friday Morning Breakfast Club,” an invite-only civic group. Freitas, as Contra Costa’s Clean Water Program Manager headed up the 2012 $526,550 failed Clean Water Fee ballot initiative.
Revenues from the proposed November ballot measure, if passed, would be dedicated to public safety. Problem is dedicated tax measures require 2/3 voter approval to pass which is why Antioch’s recent Measure C, the half cent sales tax increase, also touted to fund public safety, stated clearly that revenues would be deposited in the City’s General Fund and could be used for ANY legal municipal purpose, thus requiring only 50% plus one “yes” vote approval to pass.
Last year, Councilman Agopian suggested an increase in license fees for businesses such as smoke shops, bars, liquor stores or others that generate more police time, a five year fee freeze on other businesses and a tax on local landlords of $240 a year or $20 a month for each rental unit from 1 to 25, a fee of $120 per unit for units 25 to 50, $75 for 51 to 150 and $50 per unit for any over 150. Note, however, that the Antioch Police Department does not track the number of calls to rental properties (of any type) versus homeowner occupied buildings.
Ironically, the city has been lax in collecting delinquent business license fees, transit occupancy fees collected by hotels/motels, rental inspection fees, RV/Boat/Trailer permits, Tidelands rent, dog licensing fees etc. ever since the City’s Business License Technician retired.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: If council is supposedly watching pennies, you might want to inquire about the following expenditures: $346 to Bagel Street Café for food and refreshments for the Community Café meetings, $55 to Celia’s for lunch provided to the interview panel for oral boards requested by the Water Treatment Plant/Public Works and recent charges of $60.95 to Nature’s Bounty and $58.28 to Mr.. Pickles which are City Council expenditures. We shouldn’t be paying to feed council when they meet. Surely they can afford to bring their own brown bag out of their generous stipend.