BB Ranked Choice Voting YES
Ranked Choice Voting, also known as Instant Runoff Voting, is a tabulating system that first counts the votes for all the candidates running for the same position. If there is no clear majority it drops the candidate with the lowest number of votes and reassigns those votes to the candidate indicated as the voter’s 2nd choice. This reassignment is repeated as many times as needed until there is a clear winner. This eliminates the need for a runoff election that usually has a very low voter turnout, and costs extra to run. It also provides a quicker result.
DD Utility Users Tax YES
Albany residents would see the utility user tax line on their bill for gas and electric increase from 7% to 9.5%. For a $100 monthly bill that would increase that line from $7.00 to $9.50. This measure would also add a new utility user tax line to your water bill at a 7.5% rate. So for a $100 bi-monthly water bill, that new charge would be $7.50. Albany needs more revenue for the services the city provides. This is broad-based, equitable, and a low income exemption is provided
NO RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE OTHER ALBANY MEASURES
ON NOVEMBER’S BALLOT
CC Real Property Transfer Tax NEUTRAL
This measure would increase the transfer tax when a property is sold from the current $11.50 to $15 per $1,000 of the selling price. So if you sold your home for $750,000 the transfer tax would go from $8,625 to $11,250. This fee is usually split between the buyer and the seller. It is equitable because it includes both residential and commercial. But it’s a fairly large increase. It’s presented as a stopgap tax to help fill the hole that Covid-19 caused in Albany’s budget, but there is no sunset clause.
EE Paramedic, Advanced Life Support, Fire Engines and Ambulance Special Tax NEUTRAL
This is a special tax which means that the funds are to be held separately and used on what it says they will be used on. The services covered and equipment needed are very important. The money is collected through a line item extra charge on owners’ property tax bill. This would raise that line item from $23.66 to $68 per unit owned. ”Units” means a house or apartment. This increase covers residential property only. Commercial property is charged at a different rate and this measure does not change that. Also there is nothing to prevent landlords from passing the cost to tenants. The services and upgraded equipment are needed, but there should be a more equitable way to raise the funds.