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Goleta City Council Agrees to Move Forward with Library-Tax Ballot Measure

Council also approves recreation construction projects and purchasing Direct Relief International warehouse as the first step to expand its train station facilities

The Goleta City Council approved putting a library-funding parcel tax on November’s ballot.
The Goleta City Council approved putting a library-funding parcel tax on November’s ballot.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

With the Goleta Library’s budgetary outlook appearing redder and redder, the Goleta City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to put a tax measure on the November ballot to bolster the library’s coffers.

The measure will be proposed alongside a county one, and both would have to pass for it to be enacted, which would ensure that neither residents of Goleta or residents of the county would be solely shouldering an additional tax.

The measure would be levied in County Service Area 3, which primarily encompasses eastern Goleta. The proposal will be back at City Council in June to crunch the tax’s numbers and formally adopt the pertinent resolutions.

According to a draft budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 prepared by the City of Santa Barbara, which runs the county’s libraries, the Goleta Library at 500 N. Fairview Ave. will run a revenue shortfall of $246,000 next  year.

The library’s reserve funds are projected to run dry the following fiscal year, said Deputy City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa.

The budget does not include Friends of the Library contributions or City of Goleta contributions that aren’t included in the city’s operating funds.

Many other libraries in the county are operating at deficits as well. Cuts to Goleta’s Library have resulted in fewer hours of service and the loss of a children’s librarian position.

“The Goleta Library budget is already extremely lean,” said Trepa of the need to either increase the library’s revenues or cut its expenditures.

The proposed tax measure would supplement 1990’s Measure L, which also taxes CSA 3, and city general fund contributions.

Because the tax would require the approval of its county counterpart, staff said they would be working closely with the county in drafting the measure.

County supervisors voted 5-0 earlier this month to support a concurrent measure.

“I think it’s important to note that what we’re talking about is trying to show that (the city of Goleta has) contributed substantially, but still we don’t have enough money to fund the library,” Councilman Roger Aceves said.

“We’ve had (Measure L) since 1990; We haven’t gone back to the public since. Twenty-six years is a long time, but we don’t have any more available money to give, and that’s why we need the parcel tax.”

As part of its vote, council members also approved a one-time $60,000 contribution to the library as well as up to $50,000 for City Manager Michelle Greene for services related to preparing the ballot measure.

Council also approved the $6.7 million purchase of the property at 27 South Patera Lane from Direct Relief International, which is moving to a new Hollister Avenue storage and distribution warehouse near the Santa Barbara Airport.

As the warehouse property is adjacent to Goleta’s Amtrak station, the purchase is a first step in a city General Plan goal of improving alternative-commuter transportation.

Upgrades to and expansion of the station’s facilities are also intended to help alleviate future congestion on Highway 101, which runs parallel with the railroad tracks.

A further $150,000 was appropriated for a purchase deposit and related project evaluation costs at the property.

The projected escrow period of 18 to 30 months, according to staff, will give the city time to shape a Santa Barbara County Association of Governments funding request.

Council also awarded three contracts for the construction, management, and design of its Pedestrian Pathway and Lighting Project, which seeks primarily to make safer a pathway by the Goleta Community Center at 5679 Hollister Ave.

The current pedestrian pathway currently features a dearth of lighting that, when combined with fences that run along it, make for unsafe night travel.

Children walking to and from a nearby Boys and Girls Club would be subject to low lighting conditions and wouldn’t be able to leave the pathway until they reached an exit at either end, according to the city.

The project, which is expected to total $183,000, will add lighting, remove fencing, replace 250 feet of pathway, fix damage caused by tree roots, and construct a water-drainage system.

Measure A funds, General Fund money, and Community Development Block Grants will fund the project’s construction.

A construction contract not to exceed $125,000 was awarded to Nipomo, Calif.-based JG Contracting, which was the lowest of five bidders.

A contract for construction management services was awarded to MNS Engineers, Inc. for up to $75,000, and one for design support services already given to Wallace Group was amended to allow up to $38,000 in payment.

MNS Engineering will also be working concurrently on the city’s Maria Ygnacio bike path lighting project and the Evergreen tennis courts resurfacing project.

The latter project at the Evergreen Open Space will redo the two 1970s-era courts that haven’t been resurfaced in 30-plus years, according to staff, which has rendered them unusable.

The $124,000 project will be paid for with money from the city’s general fund. The city awarded a construction contract of up to $84,000 to Corona, Calif.-based Trueline Construction and Surfacing, Inc.​

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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