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February 04, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, February 04, 2005

Hundreds apply for parcel-tax exemption Hundreds apply for parcel-tax exemption (February 04, 2005)

Loss of funds already figured in Loss of funds already figured in (February 04, 2005)

By Julie O'Shea

A Mountain View-Whisman official said this week that 550 homeowners in the district won't have to pay their share of a $1.6 million education tax.

These homeowners, all over 65, applied for a senior exemption that excludes them from having to pay the property tax, which was passed by voters last March. The tax costs most homeowners $75 a year.

Rebecca Wright, Mountain View-Whisman's finance chief, estimated this is an annual $55,995 loss for the district, or $279,975 for the five-year life of the tax.

Wright said she was not surprised by the number of senior exemptions she received because neighboring school districts told her to be prepared to receive them from 8 to 10 percent of the city's property owners.

Wright said she included this number when calculating how much the tax would bring in annually.

What surprised Wright was that there were only six applications for contiguous-parcel exemptions. Property owners were able to apply for this exemption if they have adjacent parcels. This means they will only be taxed once rather than for each parcel.

Wright said she hasn't figured out how much the district will lose from the contiguous exemptions.

Mountain View-Whisman officials were recently ordered to turn their senior- and contiguous-exemption forms over to a man who is claiming the district's tax election was run illegally.

A Santa Clara County judge instructed the district to give the documents to Aaron Katz by Jan. 21.

Katz sued the district and the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters last year, claiming the Measure J election was illegal because not all property owners were allowed to cast a vote.

Katz is a Saratoga resident but owns 10 condos in Mountain View through a partnership. He is representing himself in the case.

A trial date has been set for April 4.

E-mail Julie O'Shea at [email protected]

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