H-SANTA MARIA

Jan 2, 2013 9:34 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Santa Maria receives first check from Measure U

Its been about three months since the city of Santa Maria raised their sales tax a quarter of a cent.

It's all part of Measure U, which aims at improving public safety.

The city received a check for just over $260,000. The amount is only from taxes collected for the month of October. Most of the check will to Fire Station Number 5.

Although this is new revenue to Santa Maria, City Manager Rick Haydon told KSBY he was expecting much more.

"I would say that I was somewhat disappointed when I saw the sales tax results," said Haydon, in an interview with KSBY's Nikki Ibarra.

The city received almost $80,000 less than what Haydon expected. But he said, he's still optimistic. "No one wants to increase taxes but when they know that the taxes are going to stay local for local programs and they can see the benefit of it, people are willing to pay a little bit more in sales tax," added Haydon.

Haydon said the low amount reflects how local businesses handle their taxes. Smaller businesses tend to pay on a quarterly basis; wheras big businesses, like the chain stores, pay on a monthly basis.

The city will get their next check at the end of the month. "We're expecting a little bit more because it's for the month of November, getting closer to the holiday season," said Haydon.

The money from Measure U will go to Fire Station Number 5, as well as to the police department's gang unit and to repair the Santa Maria River Levee.

Haydon said by April, he expects the city to get a more accurate look at just how much it will receive every month.

The city is projected to receive about $4 million a year.

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