Solana Beach voters will decide this November whether to add a 1% sales tax to support the growing costs of infrastructure projects and other city services, raising an estimated $3 million per year.
The City Council unanimously voted during its July 13 meeting to put the sales tax measure on the ballot. It requires a simple majority to pass.
“I don’t think anybody likes taxes, and I certainly wouldn’t want to necessarily encourage a tax when we don’t need it, but I want the voters to have the opportunity to get information and decide for themselves when it comes to some of these quality of life issues,” Solana Beach Deputy Mayor Kelly Harless said.
According to a recent city survey, residents said some of their top priorities are maintaining local streets, rapid response times to 911 calls, repairing and maintaining public buildings and infrastructure, and keeping the beaches clean. City Manager Greg Wade said that the costs of doing all those things continues to increase.
“The local impacts to the economy are real, whether it be the labor market or costs for construction of projects,” Wade said.
The funding raised from the sales tax would go into the city’s general fund, and it could be used to maintain existing services and begin new projects.
According to the text of the ballot measure, the funding would be used for “maintaining streets, parks, beaches, infrastructure, storm drains; fire protection, paramedic and 911 emergency response; police patrols, crime prevention, traffic management, graffiti/ trash removal; addressing homelessness; and other city services.” There would also be an annual independent audit.
Council members also emphasized that the funding would be locally controlled and could not be affected by any budgetary changes by the state government.
“This is an opportunity to provide the community members a chance to start accelerating some of the requests we get,” Solana Beach City Councilmember David Zito said.