The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to place a measure on county ballots this November which would raise county sales taxes by a half-cent.
The levy on sales would go towards construction of a new 304-bed county jail to take pressure off of existing county facilities. According to a board resolution, the tax would raise roughly $30 million which will also provide funding for firefighters and law enforcement.
Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr said the board unanimously approved the tax after hearing testimonies from the sheriff and other members of local government.
“We realized that operation and maintenance costs for individual prisoners per year costs an approximate $17,000,” Farr said. “This [tax proposal] was our way of giving the voters a way to determine what they want their money going towards.”
In addition to voting on the tax proposal, the board had been scheduled to discuss plans to purchase land at 761 Camino Pescadero in Isla Vista in order to develop county housing. The proposal was pulled from the agenda because of time constraints.
The property, which would cost nearly $3 million, would be a part of the Isla Vista Redevelopment Agency’s plans to revitalize the area. Farr said the board would reconsider the proposal in September, after determining if the purchase can be made.
“We’ll just wait and see if we are able to finalize the purchase satisfactorily, then we will have an internal discussion and go from there,” Farr said.
Board members also decided to wait before further discussion of Goleta Beach 2.0, a county plan to reconstruct the beach park adjacent to UCSB in order to prevent erosion of the coastline. The plan would relocate gas lines and a nearby parking lot, allowing for expansion of the beach by roughly an acre.
On July 6, the board voted 3-0-1, with one member absent and another abstaining, to begin environmental reviews of the beach project.
“We voted to move the project forward, which will give us a path to see if we can move the utility line closer to the 217,” Farr said. “We want to weigh the pros and cons and the environmental impact before we make a final decision.”
Farr said the board would have discussed the main concerns over the plan, including what to do with extra beach land created by the reconstruction, had the meeting not run out of time.