Antioch’s Measure O will levy annual business license fees on residential rental units of $250 for single detached houses and $150 for apartments. It was unanimously approved and placed on the ballot for November’s election by the Antioch City Council. In addition, Measure O will raise the minimum license fee for all other businesses to $100 annually with the exception of some home-based small businesses, which will remain at $25. It is anticipated Measure O will generate additional revenue of approximately $2.4 million annually, helping to close a structural gap in the City’s budget in 2015 and beyond. Revenue collected under Measure O will go to the Antioch “General Fund” to support police, code enforcement and other City services.
Comparing Antioch’s revenue to revenue of nearby cities illustrates that Antioch suffers from a severe revenue shortfall and not from overspending. Antioch’s total projected revenues for the 2014-2015 budget are only $404.36 per resident compared to $555.84 for Pittsburg, $681.68 for Concord, $817.35 for Brentwood, and $1255.75 for Richmond. Brentwood’s per capita revenues are double and Richmond’s are triple those of Antioch! Even Pittsburg has a 37 percent advantage over Antioch and Concord a 69 percent advantage.
Business license fees on rentals are not “new” taxes as claimed by Measure O opponents. The measure will amend the City’s existing ordinance established in the 1960’s, which requires landlords pay business license fees based on a percentage of gross receipts. However, the existing ordinance was not diligently enforced over the years and many residential landlords did not pay any licenses fees as required. Many current owners and property managers are not aware of the existing law. The amendment will simplify the computation and collection of the fees to be similar to methods used by a number of other cities in California.
Measure O evolved from a proposal in 2013 by the Friday Morning Breakfast Club (FMBC) in response to the Council’s request for ideas to resolve the City’s revenue shortfall. To be fairer to owners of large apartment complexes, the Council modified the FMBC’s initial proposal of $240 fees for houses and apartments alike. The FMBC agrees with the City’s modifications and has formed the committee “Antioch Residents for Fairness – Yes Measure O” to campaign for passage of the measure.
Approval of Measure ‘O’ will:
1. Benefit renters, homeowners, and businesses (including residential landlords) alike with reduced crime and blight and improved City services.
2. Restore “fairness” to business license fees by ensuring that residential landlords pay reasonable license fees as do all other for profit businesses operating in Antioch
3. Provide funds to help defray the higher cost of policing and other city services associated with rentals compared to owner occupied residences.
4. Help balance the City budget to save Antioch from bankruptcy.
5. Help provide the level of services citizens should expect from local government including more police and code enforcement officers that are currently underfunded and understaffed.
6. Help clean-up Antioch to attract additional businesses and development to the economic benefit of all.
As a member of the campaign committee and a 46 year resident of Antioch, I strongly urge all residents of Antioch to vote yes for Measure O. I will rebut the arguments of the opponents to Measure O in a future letter.
Larry L. Harrison, Antioch Residents for Fairness – Yes Measure O Committee