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Lompoc city officials explain the reasoning behind moving special election to September

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Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 07, 2021

The City of Lompoc has decided to change the date of its special election on cannabis taxes.

Lompoc's special municipal election for a cannabis tax ballot measure will be consolidated with the statewide gubernatorial recall election.

The city special election was previously scheduled for August 31. Now, it's aligned with the recall to take place on September 14 of this year.

"By doing it on August 31st you could only vote by mail. Now, it'll just be like every other election so you have the mailing opportunity or you can go to a polling place so we can do better outreach," explained Lompoc City Manager Jim Throop.

According to Throop, this change will benefit the city and its residents in a couple of other ways as well.

By consolidating the two items, the city saves money. Estimated costs were $250,000 for a single-issue special election but now it'll cost around $65,000.

Aligning the dates also means the Santa Barbara County Elections Division will handle the Lompoc special election instead of the city.

"Just like in the general election, you vote for a lot of things so it makes a lot of sense," said resident Carol Barlow.

The local ballot measure up for a vote would impose a graduated tax on Lompoc cannabis manufacturing and distribution operators.

The tax would range from .5 cents per dollar to 2.5 cents per dollar based on revenue level.

"The citizens of Lompoc know the financial condition we are in. I think they will see this as a benefit to the city and we will be doing educational outreach of where we are, what this can do, and how it can help the city," Throop said.

City officials say the revenues from the cannabis tax would go into the city's general fund and be used for things like public safety, parks, and much more.

They are also hoping that having more than just one item on the ballot will motivate residents to show up and vote.