Santa Maria to vote on sales tax increase in November

Posted at 8:16 PM, Jul 03, 2018

Come November, voters in Santa Maria will decide whether to increase a sales tax they imposed on themselves a few years back.

The Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday unanimously decided to place a "local funding measure extension" on the November 6 ballot.

The measure would extend the existing quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2012 and increase it to one cent.

The city says the money — estimated to be around $18 million a year — would pay for public safety, essential services and quality of life services in the city.

"Our residents told us over and over that they particularly value the public safety services that Measure U funds," City Manager Jason Stilwell said in a statement provided to KSBY News. "If approved, this Measure U extension will allow our City to maintain and enhance the public safety and quality of life services that our residents want and deserve."

Stilwell said recent community surveys showed a desire for more gang suppression and crime prevention, prompt 9-1-1 response times, staffed fire stations, and at-risk youth programs. Measure U would help fund those efforts.

Santa Maria’s current sales tax rate is 8 percent:

California: 6%
Santa Barbara County:   0.25%
Santa Maria: 0.25%
Special: 1.5%

If passed, the sales tax rate would be 8.75 percent:

California: 6%
Santa Barbara County:   0.25%
Santa Maria: 1%
Special: 1.5%