Moraga Declares Fiscal Emergency

The town of Moraga in the San Francisco Bay is no poor community. The median household income is $169,000 per year. An average home sells for $1.2 million. But it’s not immune to some of the problems that have beset cities like Stockton or Vallejo.

Moraga recently declared a state of fiscal emergency, which is a possible precursor to municipal bankruptcy. A declining retail sector, falling property tax revenues and a series of rough winter storms has left it strapped for cash, officials say. Bloomberg News reports that the impact of Proposition 13, a 40-year-old ballot initiative that limited property taxes, has been particularly detrimental.

“We just don’t have enough revenue to take us through the future for many more years before we would really be in some of the situations other cities are, where they’re laying off mass numbers of employees or declaring bankruptcy,” said town manager Robert Priebe.

Moraga is now cutting public services to bridge the gap. The emergency declaration will also allow for a referendum on new fees and taxes to bring in more revenue.

Will it be enough?