Renewing Alameda County’s Unincorporated Areas’ Utility Tax

Measure V

TL;DR: A utility tax for unincorporated parts of Alameda County that has nothing to do with Oakland.

Measure V would renew a tax on utility bills in unincorporated parts of Alameda County, but everyone in the county is required to vote on them. This measure would pass with a simple majority (rather than the 2/3 vote a new tax or tax increase requires).

What happens if the measure passes?

The existing utility tax rate will stay the same for residents of the unincorporated areas of Alameda County. “This Measure has no effect on utility users taxes that may have been, or will be, enacted by individual cities within the County and does not apply in the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, or Union City.”

What happens if the measure fails?

The existing tax will expire on June 30, 2021.

What does this tax pay for?

Services covered include public safety, libraries, land use planning, and code enforcement. Low-income residents of the affected area are exempt from the utility tax, as are people whose lives depend on utilities (e.g., people on life support systems).

Hold up, why are we voting on this tax in Oakland, since it won’t affect us?

Even though the tax applies only to residents of the unincorporated areas of Alameda County—not including Oakland—the California constitution requires that a tax affecting any part of the county be voted on by the entire county.

Any objections?

The county’s Taxpayers Association objects that it doesn’t contain sufficient safeguards to make sure it is spent on libraries and the sheriff, rather than on pensions. But they reflexively hate taxes and oppose every county-wide ballot measure by writing “Are you kidding me?!”

Are you kidding us? A LARGE NEW TAX, NOW?


Vote yes we guess? Honestly this has nothing to do with Oakland, but it seems like it needs 50% of the county’s vote to pass, so help an unincorporated county resident out.