Critical Infrastructure and Essential Community Service Needs
On November 7, 2017, Santa Barbara residents voted on Measure C, a one-cent general purpose sales tax to increase the funding for roads and vital infrastructure and programs. Voters passed Measure C with 56.1% approval.
A key challenge for the community is addressing how to maintain safe and functioning streets and historic facilities to prevent them from falling into serious disrepair or closure. The City's basic facilities rely on general tax dollars and lack sufficient funding for regular maintenance or replacement.
Pavement engineers rated 64% of the City's roads as "poor, at risk, or failed." City engineers have estimated that a sales tax increase of one cent would provide sufficient funds to repave all local roadways throughout the City on a 20-year cycle, including neighborhood streets. The price tag for the road and bridge repair work will increase significantly the longer we delay.
Over the past five years, the state has taken away over $100 million dollars in local City funding through the elimination of redevelopment agencies. Due to the loss in state funds and the possible elimination of federal funds, the City must rely on local funding sources that cannot be taken away.
The State Constitution ensures that local funds stay local, as they cannot be taken by the state or federal government. Over a hundred California cities have voted to increase their sales tax to create a local revenue source. The chart below provides the sales tax rates in other comparable, visitor-serving cities.
MEASURE C — OFFICIAL BALLOT LANGUAGE
Santa Barbara Critical Infrastructure and Essential Community Services Measure:
To maintain essential services and repair critical infrastructure including:
Police, fire, and 911 emergency medical response;
local streets, potholes, bridges and storm drains;
neighborhood fire stations/public safety infrastructure;
parks, youth/senior services;
help retain local businesses;
support other general services;
shall the City of Santa Barbara enact a one-cent sales tax providing approximately 22 million dollars annually unless ended by voters; requiring audits, citizens oversight, public disclosure of spending, and all funds used locally?