Measure Y

Oakland Zoo

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CITY OF OAKLAND—Would amend Oakland's Municipal Code to fund Oakland Zoo operations, staffing, maintenance and capital improvements by imposing an annual $68 parcel tax for single-family parcels, and other parcels as specified, with exemptions for low-income households and others. Measure Y requires a simple majority (50% + 1) to pass.

Fiscal Impact: Would raise approximately $14 million annually for each of the 20 years that the tax remains in effect.



Proponents of Measure Y argue that it is urgently needed for the Zoo to move forward boldly to improve our animal care, enhance our science education programming for Oakland kids, increase our rescue programs and provide access to the Zoo for all Oaklanders, regardless of income. They argue that Measure Y funds are for the Oakland Zoo according to a specific plan (the City cannot spend them for any other purpose) and includes exemptions for low-income seniors, community oversight, and independent audits. 

A YES vote on this measure means: A 20-year parcel tax would be imposed to fund animal care, education, and improvements at the Oakland Zoo. (Campaign Website)


Opponents of Measure Y argue that it is a $68.00 a year tax will be for 20 years and will be spent on things that should otherwise be covered by admission fees to the Zoo. The argue that many Oaklanders already struggling and it is far more fair to cover any additional expenses by simply raising the price of admission, rather than imposing a tax on those who derive little or no benefit from the Zoo.

A NO vote on this measure means: A 20-year parcel tax would not be imposed to fund animal care, education, and improvements at the Oakland Zoo.

In Depth

This measure would amend Title 4 of the Oakland Municipal Code to add Chapter 4.58, "The 2022 Oakland Zoo Animal Care, Education and Improvement Ordinance," anq impose an annual parcel tax for twenty years commencing on July 1, 2023.

The parcel tax revenue could be used only to fund the operations, staffing, maintenance and capital improvements for the Oakland Zoo and administrative expenses associated with the tax, as defined in the measure. The measure provides that revenue from the parcel tax complements but does not supplant current funding for the Oakland Zoo provided by the City and other funding sources. The measure further provides that the City's annual budget allocations for the Zoo cannot be reduced at a greater rate or increased at a lesser rate relative to the overall annual General Purpose Fund budget as a result of this parcel tax. This measure would require that the Zoo operator comply with certain conditions specified in the measure in order to receive the tax money. 

The parcel tax would terminate automatically if the Oakland Zoo ceases to operate. If the City conveys the Zoo and its assets to another public agency or a nonprofit corporation, the parcel tax would remain in effect, provided that certain conditions are met as specified in the measure.

This measure requires that the City Auditor prepare an annual report to ensure proper disbursement of the tax revenue. This measure also requires oversight by the Oakland Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission.

The annual parcel tax for the first year is as follows: 

  • Each single-family residential parcel - $68
  • Multiple residential unit parcels - $68
  • Non-residential parcels - the tax would vary depending on parcel frontage and square footage based on a formula specified in the measure
  • Hotels - the tax would depend upon the percentage of transient occupancy based on a formula specified in the measure

The measure provides exemptions from the tax for qualifying very low-income households and senior households, property owned by religious organizations, and schools that are exempt from property taxes under state law. The measure also provides a 50% reduction in the tax for affordable housing projects as defined in the measure. Additionally, the measure requires that the City provide a rebate of 50% of the tax to qualifying tenants in single family homes that were foreclosed-upon if the tenants paid a parcel tax that the landlord passed through to the tenant.

The City Council could increase the parcel tax on an annual basis by a percentage that is up to the greater of the percentage change in the cost of living in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area or the percentage change in California per capita personal income. This measure was placed on the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters.

Source: City Attorney's Impartial Analysis of Measure Y

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