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Arroyo Grande City Council votes to survey voters on funding for road repairs

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Posted at 8:50 PM, Jun 15, 2023

The City of Arroyo Grande is looking at new options to raise money for road repairs after a sales tax measure failed late last year.

The Arroyo Grande City Council has decided to send a survey out to voters to see if they’re open to some sort of tax increase in the future.

The city is facing a $5-million annual budget shortfall just to maintain the current condition of its streets and sidewalks.

“Lots of potholes everywhere and then also right here on Branch—the intersections, when you’re turning right—there are so many things in the way, obstacles where you can’t see,” said Linda Grimes, who lives in Arroyo Grande and works in the village.

We asked Grimes what grade she would give the overall condition of city streets.

“Probably a 'C.' They’re drivable but they need help,” she said.

That grade is on par with the city’s assessment that streets are starting to deteriorate faster than the current budget can handle.

“It’s going to be increasingly challenging and difficult for us to maintain our streets,” said Arroyo Grande City Manager Whitney McDonald.

The city is now asking the public to weigh in after voters rejected a 1% sales tax hike last November.

“We really want to hear from folks. We also really want people to understand what our needs are as an organization which really are what their needs are for the community,” said McDonald.

Surveys and public outreach will begin this Fall and it’s expected to cost the city anywhere between $90,000 and $115,000 to develop the surveys and conduct outreach.

“Based on the outcome and the input that we receive, we’ll really adjust the approach that the city takes into the future,” explained McDonald.

Options on the table include another sales tax measure or a parcel tax placed on property owners.

“We want to hear from people — what type of mechanisms would they want to see in a measure or constraints should we take into mind when we’re putting something together,” said McDonald.

The survey still needs to be developed so it’s unclear exactly what it will look like.

The city says it is looking at other ways to increase funding as part of a multi-faceted approach.