Goleta registered over 15,000 voters as of Feb. 1 that will result in at least $18 million in state funding for the new city.

Goleta will receive $1,200 per registered voter over the next seven years. The monies, usually allocated according to population, are part of a state policy designed to provide new cities with needed start-up funds.

Mayor Margaret Connell and Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Kenneth Pettit headed the push for registration. The campaign, focused within city limits, visited high-density apartment complexes, the Camino Real Center and local high schools in order to register 18-year-olds. Pettit estimated that since the last count of registered voters, which totaled about 15,200, the number of voters has increased by three or four hundred.

“We just wanted to get out there and register as many people as we could,” he said.

Connell, pleased with campaign results, said the money will go to the city’s general fund.

“We’ll use that money for city services such as law enforcement, libraries and other basic needs of the city. The more money we get, the more choices we have,” she said. “We’ve just hired a city manager so we’re slowly building a comprehensive staff.”

Connell said the city has also registered students living in Goleta.

“We’re certainly looking to register students and get them to vote. Part of being a good citizen is voting,” she said.

Registered Goleta voter and junior biopsychology major Haley Anderson said the city council’s debate over development is her greatest concern. The council will vote on a moratorium at its Feb. 11 meeting.

“I hope the city uses this money wisely and efficiently to help set itself up,” she said. “My biggest interest is that Goleta will stop growth. The county has been pushing development into the Goleta area and I hope that will stop. Now that we’re a city, we’ll be able to decide our own fate.”