OAKLAND -- City Attorney Barbara Parker filed suit against Alameda County on Friday, claiming that it has shortchanged the city more than $2 million in property tax revenue.

Parker is asking a judge to rule that Alameda County Controller Patrick O'Connell has been violating state law for years by charging Oakland too high a fee for administering the distribution of property taxes.

The fees have unlawfully cost Oakland at least $2.6 million since 2006, Parker wrote in the lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court.

O'Connell and Parker did not return phone calls late Friday.

The dispute centers on the county's ability, beginning in 2006, to charge an extra fee for administering the so called "triple flip" -- a tax transfer in which cities and counties lose money from vehicle license fees but get reimbursed through additional property taxes.

Oakland maintains that O'Connell has illegally set that fee above the actual cost of providing the services.

The city's complaint cites a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling striking down an "identical" formula used by Los Angeles County.

The lawsuit comes less than a week before Mayor Jean Quan is expected to unveil a two-year budget that anticipates shortfalls in both years.


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Meanwhile, the city is asking the county for free assistance beefing up police patrols and funding police academies to help bolster Oakland's understaffed force.

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.