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Belvedere officials back transfer tax to fund seawall project

Belvedere’s San Rafael Avenue riprap along Richardson Bay is seen at high tide Dec. 16. The City Council last week voted to develop a ballot initiative for a property-transfer tax to help fund its $28 million plan to bulk up the city’s northern and southern seawalls. (Elliot Karlan / For The Ark)

The Belvedere City Council has chosen to explore a real-estate transfer tax to help the city fund its planned multimillion-dollar seawall project, and it will decide in the spring whether to pose the tax to voters on the November ballot.

The council at its Dec. 13 teleconference meeting voted unanimously to direct staff to develop a ballot measure proposing the property-transfer tax, selecting it over a parcel-tax option. Under the chosen plan, a 1-percent fee would be charged on every home sale, with hopes of generating about $2 million per year to pay off a 30-year bond on the $28 million project.

The tax would require a simple majority for approval by Belvedere voters, in part making it more attractive than the two-thirds’ majority required of a parcel tax based on the assessed value of each property.

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