Although the City of Belvedere’s finances are in great shape, with no debt and $3 million of reserves, our annual budget is only $8 million, all of which is committed. New revenues sources must be created to fund the Sea Wall Project, which has an estimated price tag of $27.4 million. Here are some options:
- Real Property Transfer Tax. We could introduce a new tax on the sale of properties in Belvedere, charged as a percentage of the sale price. There is precedent for this throughout California. A 1% RPTT, for example, would generate around $1.2 million in revenue per year. The tax would be paid by the buyer on closing.
- Ad-Valorem Property Tax (levied as a percentage of assessed property values). Assessed values are $2.313 bn (2018-19) so a 0.1% tax would generate $2.3 million annually, rising as assessed values go higher.
- Parcel Tax (levied at a flat rate per property). There are approximately 900 fully-taxable parcels in Belvedere, so a new $1,000 parcel tax, for example, would generate an estimated $900,000 annually.
Any of these revenue streams, or a combination thereof, could be bonded against to create the necessary upfront cash-flow to fund the Sea Wall Project. At current interest rates, we would require about $1.85 million of annual revenue to pay back $27.4 million of debt over a 20 year period.
We, as a community, need to decide the most equitable and efficient way to raise the necessary funding to protect our public assets and our community from coastal flooding today and in the decades ahead.