Monday, March 19 , 2018, 6:57 am | Fair 39º


Local News

Santa Barbara County Supervisors Considering Ballot Measure To Boost TOT Rate to 12%

Santa Barbara County residents could soon decide whether to approve a ballot measure raising transient occupancy taxes in unincorporated areas from 10 percent to 12 percent.

The latter figure is already charged to out-of-area visitors renting hotel rooms or other lodging for 30 days or less in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Solvang and Buellton.

Transient occupancy taxes, or TOT, are also called bed taxes.

On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will set a public hearing to determine whether to place a ballot measure before voters in November.

If officials approve the measure — the suggested hearing date is April 19 — and voters support it, the county could see an additional $1.98 million in revenue for 2017-18.

TOT is the third largest source of revenue for the county general fund after property and retail-sales taxes. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, TOT is expected to generate $8.98 million, according to a county staff report.

In unincorporated areas, the county has charged a 10-percent TOT rate since 1990.

In 2014, the supervisors placed Measure O on the ballot to increase TOT in those areas to 12.5 percent, but residents voted that measure down, with 58.17 percent opposed and 41.83 percent in favor. 

In the report, county staff writes that services and positions cut during the recession should be restored now that finances have stabilized. The demand for services has increased, and the report specifically mentioned long-standing infrastructure maintenance and human-service needs. 

Four of five supervisors must OK placing the tax for general purposes on the ballot.

If the board decides to go the special tax measure for specific purposes route — outlining exactly what the funds would go toward —a majority of the board must approve and two-thirds of voters must approve.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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