The Chronicle is reporting on a grassroots movement to unify the Town of Piedmont with the City of Oakland. One of the more controversial parts of this border dispute is the claim that Piedmont residents, a relatively higher income bunch, are free-riding on access to Oakland's Library services.

Carolyn Jones reporting from the Chronicle has more

Library Services Issue

According to Jones, "Among the most bitter disputes between the two cities is over library services. Piedmont pays Oakland $350,000 annually for the use of its libraries. In 2011, Oakland, facing severe budget cuts, slashed library services and asked Piedmont to increase its share to $395,000 annually. After all, Oakland taxpayers pay $20 million a year, or about $50 for every resident, to support the libraries. Piedmont residents, by comparison, pay just $35 annually.

Piedmont said no, on the grounds that any California resident can obtain a free Oakland library card, and theoretically Piedmont isn't required to pay anything at all. After months of negotiations, Piedmont still pays just $350,000.

That was among the impetuses for Goldstein and his friends to start their reunification campaign. It's not fair, they said, that Piedmont residents enjoy the benefits of Oakland - the restaurants, arts, diversity, parks and overall vibrancy - without taking responsibility for the urban problems that face cities everywhere: crime, budget shortfalls, struggling schools and infrastructure."