Measure U: City Charter and Measure V: Property Transfer Tax

  • Simple Majority Required

The Question for Measure U: Should Emeryville become a charter city authorized to adopt a local real property transfer tax, if voters approve such a tax? Adopting Measure U would give the city local control over funding essential city services. The City Council’s powers would not change and would continue be limited by State general law. Voters would have to agree before any further expansion of the Charter.

The Question for Measure V: Should the City of Emeryville adopt the proposed Real Property Transfer Tax that would be paid at the time of sale by buyers and sellers of property? Adopting the tax would maintain essential city services such as: police, fire and emergency services; street, sewer and storm drain maintenance; park and open space development and maintenance; bike and pedestrian safety; child care and programs for youth and seniors.

What the Measures U & V Would Do:  A YES vote for Measure U would authorize the City to become a charter city which could adopt a local real property transfer tax and set a new rate, if voters approve such a change.

A YES vote on Measure V would allow the city to impose and manage its own property transfer tax starting Jan.1, 2015. The proposed tax rate would be $12 per $1,000 of the sale price. Property in the City’s affordable housing program would be exempt.

The Way it is Now:  The City of Emeryville is not a charter city; it is a general law city and follows the laws of the State of California. Real property transfer tax rates for general law cities are set by the County and limited by State general law to no more than $1.10 per $1,000 of the sale price. Emeryville receives half or $0.55 per $1,000 of the sale price; the other half goes to the County

Fiscal Effect:   In the recent economic downturn, Emeryville lost $21M from its redevelopment agency. This measure would work toward replacing this loss of income. In 2013, Emeryville received approximately $130,000 from the City’s share of the County real property transfer tax.  If Emeryville had been a charter city with a local real property transfer rate of $12 per $1,000 in 2013, Emeryville would have received an additional $2.85M– with 85% of those funds coming from the sale of commercial property.

Supporters Say:

  • Emeryville lost state redevelopment agency funding in the recent fiscal crisis.
  • We need an new source of revenue to support our many community services; U and V will provide that revenue.
  • If the City had had the power to set local property transfer tax rates, the City could have collected more than $2M when the Emeryville Towers were sold.
  • The charter cannot be amended without a ballot measure approved by voters.

Opponents Say:

  • Emeryville isn’t broken, why fix it? Surrounding charter cities like Oakland and Berkeley are broken.
  • The very limited charter proposed in U could be expanded in future to, for example, increase Council members’ pay, change zoning ordinances and more.
  • The property transfer tax will make homes less affordable.
  • There is no guarantee your tax money will be spend on important services for residents.

The full text of Measure U:

The full text of Measure V:

Return to all Pros and Cons page