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Parcel tax could land on Nov. ballot to help Morro Bay harbor

morro bay harbor.JPG
Posted at 3:55 PM, Dec 20, 2021

A group of Morro Bay residents are trying to get a new property tax on the November ballot to allow the harbor to pay for infrastructure projects.

“We have approximately almost $10 million from sea walls to revetments to piers to docks that are basically disintegrating,” said Bill Luffee, President of the Friends of the Morro Bay Harbor Department.

Luffee and two other members are spearheading the Harbor Infrastructure Parcel Tax Initiative.

For Morro Bay residents this means an extra $120 tacked on property taxes each year or $10 a month. This would impact roughly 5,400 parcels.

“It would be approximately 686,000 dollars a year to the city and this would be a fund that would be separate from the general fund of the City of Morro Bay,” Luffee said.

The harbor department is funded solely from waterfront lease revenues and pier and mooring rentals. The budget is roughly $2,000,000 a year with no contribution from the city’s general fund.

“Typically in the past, we generated sufficient revenue to exceed operations to take care of those capital needs but we don't anymore,” said Eric Endersby, City of Morro Bay Harbor Director. “It's hundreds of thousands of dollars per year that we need to catch up with all of our infrastructures.”

There are 827 signatures needed to get the initiative on the ballot. They’ve collected roughly 200 signatures so far.

“The bay is the jewel of the City of Morro Bay and we need to support it and we need to finance it properly,” Luffee said.

The collection of more than 800 signatures is due by April.

For more information on the initiative click here.

A citizens panel would oversee the funds if the initiative gets on the ballot and passes. The funds could not be used for salaries, only capital expenditures.