(This editorial was published in the Oct. 21, 2009, issue of The Almanac.)
Every four years Atherton voters must renew the city's parcel tax if they want to keep their government running the way it does today.
As one of the few Peninsula cities with virtually no sales tax revenue, Atherton depends on the tax for nearly $2 million a year in revenue, which, unlike property tax, does not have to be shared with the state. The relatively modest parcel tax, which must be approved by a two-thirds of the voters for passage, is also deductible, which should not go unnoticed in Atherton.
The tax helps pay the costs of various services in the city, from police to road repair and drainage projects. Without it, Mayor Jerry Carlson said, it would be very difficult for the government to function. There is no organized opposition to the parcel tax measures and no one bothered to write a ballot argument against them.
We urge a yes vote on Measure S, to renew the tax, and Measure T, which authorizes the town to collect and spend it.