New tax could help Santa Barbara's budget

Voters will get their say before anything goes to the ballot

POSTED: 05:37 PM PDT Mar 14, 2013    UPDATED: 06:29 PM PDT Mar 14, 2013 
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Santa Barbara city leaders may soon ask voters if they support a new tax for specific projects.

The city says its day to day operations are covered by existing funds, but it needs more money to cover over $400-million dollars in capital projects.  Among them, a $54-million dollar police command center, to replace the aging headquarters building on Figueroa Street.

"If there's an appetite for it, then we can move forward. If people are saying don't even bother, then we won't even bother, " said Schneider.

The city says a quarter-cent sales tax increase would bring in $5-million dollars a year.

Resident Kay Hoffman watches her personal budget closely and says she can't handle many more tax increases.  "We keep compounding a quarter-cent on a quarter-cent. It will eventually tap out. We just have to figure out a way to balance the budget and make things happen that need to have happen," said Hoffman.

Schneider says if the survey shows support for the tax, it will likely be on the November ballot.

A decision on funding the survey will be make within the month.