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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Finance Report Reveals Schools Low Ranking

Snapshot of priorities:
Report Shows Emeryville's Values Laid Bare

The City of Emeryville collected building permit fees in the last six months that funded more than $23,000 for public art but only $221 for the schools according to a City Hall interdepartmental memo released last week.
The information in the memo shows how sometimes a seemingly innocuous bureaucratic staff report can serve a greater revelatory function than by all rights it was meant to.  Such is the case of the 'Financial Progress Report' memo that in a nutshell, starkly illustrates the real priorities of the city, politician's claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

The January 6th memo, addressed to City Manager Pat O'Keeffe from the Assistant City Manager is an accounting of fees collected as a result of the 399 building permits issued by the city between July 10th and December 10, 2010.  The total valuation of commercial and residential building improvements over the six months is shown to be over $35 million netting a total of $221.84 for the schools out of $874,441 total fees collected. The schools came out dead last in the fees collected for the second half of 2010, giving numerical value to the city's moral value as manifest by its fee schedule.

Highlights of fees paid to the City of Emeryville (last half of 2010):

General Plan Fee                 $170,716.00
Technology Fee                     $34,143.35 
Plan Review Fee                  $173,630.27 
Fire Department Fee             $51,820.81 
Traffic Impact Fee                   $2105.08 
Art In Public Places Fee        $23,352.07 
School Fee                                  $221.84 


  1. I don't think this was meant to be strictly public like this. Man, you're really starting to piss them off.

  2. I wouldn't think there would be any additional taxes through building permit fee's. Sounds like a accounting error. What if we compare yearly property tax collections with amounts going to schools and public art. Maybe we might say we are being taxed in excess for what we are receiving.

  3. The School District sets this fee not the City. The State caps school impact fees at $1.93/square foot. There is a provision to establish "level two" fees beyond $1.93, but the School District must meet one of four very specific conditions in order to do that. Please include all the relevant information such as this when you report stories like this. This is a non-story.

  4. It's just another example; consider how much money the redevelopment agency of emeryville takes from the schools,through "re-ingesting" the tax revenue, and what is given back through all avenues is pathetic. Why didn't the developers, Walt Disney Pixar and Novartis pay for some of the new school? Why was the full burden put on the residents when we have so few benefits from the R.A., and big business and developers have gained so many subsidies? Smoke and mirrors surround us.

  5. There will be a follow up story to this.

  6. Since every inch of emeryville outside of the Watergate complex is in a "Redevelopment Area" just about ALL of the sales taxes and other funds generated within the city DO NOT GO TO THE SCHOOLS, but instead back to the REDEVELOPMENT be handed over to Rich Robbins, Disney/Pixar, Madison Marquette, Pulte Homes and Chiron/Novertis...they get the cash, as taxpayers you get to shut up and pay up.

  7. Please do write a follow up story. You obviously did not do your due diligence the first time. You are comparing apples and oranges here. Some of these fees are impact fees and some are fees to recover services rendered. You cannot accurately compare the two types of fees. Impact fees have to be backed up by elaborate "nexus studies" which establish their cost.

    To the other commenters: The school district does not receive any less funding due to the presence of the redevelopment agency. The State funds all school districts based on a per pupil amount. When a redevelopment agency exists, the State must come up with that money from somewhere other than property taxes, since the RA gets to keep more of the property taxes, but the school district gets the same amount.