Watchdog – Another petition filed for business license tax on rental properties in Antioch

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

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.

8 Comments to “Watchdog – Another petition filed for business license tax on rental properties in Antioch”

  1. Kenji Freitas says:

    This is bad for the high percentage of low income people we have in Antioch, because any increase in fees to landlords will be passed onto renters in higher rent, and a lot of families are barely able to pay their rent now. And some may use the excuse to generate more profit, charging $50 more a month while only paying the city the $20, putting the burden again on the renter. Who do they think will end up paying this fee?

  2. Dale says:

    Great! Where do I sigh, this has been in place for so many cities and has been very successful!!!!

  3. So hire a new Business License Technician if that is what it takes to start collecting these delinquent fees. It galls me as an Antioch resident to be charged increased sales tax to cover deficits when the city isn’t doing all it can/should to collect fees already on the books.

    • Reginald Jamal Brown says:

      I agree.

      Only incompetent people answer every problem with another problem. This is notion is all too common with the people that run this city.

  4. Reginald Jamal Brown says:

    Where can I have my family and friends sign?

    I have at least 43 signatures on my end.

    • karl says:

      as soon as i have the signup lists, i will contact you.


      and like people notice, we, the city, has enough resources and money out there, we just need to collect it.
      unfortunately our city leaders don’t have what it takes, they rather raise our taxes.
      first priority should be to stabilize our financials. get the steady flow of money going to get our services back on track.

  5. Marty Fernandez says:

    Mrs Zivica, you are mixing a lot of stuff up in your piece as usual. Gary Agopian is a very strong supporter of the rental business license fee at $240. It has no bearing on all the other stuff Mr Agopian raised such a lower fees on businesses in Antioch The business licence fee is for RENTAL businesses. As written it does NOT require a 2/3 vote of the registered voters. I suggest you get your facts before you write your Watchdog hit pieces.
    Donald Freitas is only one of many members of the Friday Morning Breakfast Club and is only in the position of speaking for us because we ASKED him to do so. He also was doing a job for the Clean Water Program that he was paid to do. He was chosen to do this by a group supported by the mayors and city councils of Contra Costa County. You cannot continue to blame him for this program. I know you will continue to do so because that is how small you really are.

  6. Jim Marchetti says:

    The “solution” to putting Antioch back on the map as a great place to live, work and play is complex. Just in this article it is clear that the City Council has no idea how to run a city. Cutting staff to the bone was supposedly a necessity, but running a city on fumes in City Hall is a tragic failure.

    We’ve got a new City Manager now – Steven Duran – and while I’ve not met him personally, yet, I have listened to him, read his reports so far and I think he is looking at the City of Antioch through the lens of “how in the heck can we right this severely listing ship?” – at least I am hopeful that is his number one goal.

    On a personal level, I like the council members & the mayor. I’m not a big fan as a resident of Antioch though.

    The Cafe idea was ridiculous – the consulting firm is 1 year into their engagement and we’ve seen ZERO actual results. Like most consultants, they come up with ideas, recommendations, etc. and then they’re off to the next “gig” to collect another chunk of taxpayer money.

    I watch Pittsburg and see a city that is fighting hard to bring its downtown back to life – and you know what? – IT IS WORKING. In fact, they’re kicking Antioch’s proverbial ASS. Brentwood? Well, they’re a city bent on making people believe it is a “high end”, affluent city. Maybe, maybe not, but they’ve not let their downtown decline like Antioch has over the years. Oakley is stepping up its game too and making Antioch look like a city of barber shops, tattoo parlors and thrift stores.

    Seriously folks – this fee is ONE STEP in the right direction – Antioch DOES have a rental property problem and if you look at the idea behind this fee, you will see that it is designed to self-fund the work it will create.

    EVERY fee, tax, etc. gets passed on to the people of Antioch – that is the LAMEST argument anyone could levy against this proposal. Think 1/2 cent sales tax… DUH! WE ARE PAYING IT.

    The sad state of affairs in Antioch is one that has been festering and developing for quite a long time. It is always ignored – the truth about the City Councils over the years, the lack of genuine and SERIOUS leadership and the obvious neglect and mismanagement of a waterfront city, gateway to the Delta, once bustling downtown, now turned into a city that overbuilt homes, moved away from downtown to the South and all but abandoning the JEWEL of the city – THE WATERFRONT. Ya, nice boat ramp.

    I’m hopeful, actually I PRAY, that some SERIOUS Antioch residents step up to the election plate this election with the intent to resurrect this city and not simply spin their wheels puffin themselves up and relishing the recognition and “glory” of being on the city council. That’s plain embarrassing.

    TIME FOR A CHANGE, actually, it’s been time for a long time…

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