Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 17
Guadalupe government looks to voters for approval of two ballot measures
BY AMY ASMAN
Guadalupe’s city leaders are asking residents to vote on some ballot measures this November; one involves taxpayers’ dollars and the other doesn’t, but both are designed to increase the city’s revenues.
On June 26, the Guadalupe City Council voted 4-0, with Councilmember Ariston Julian absent, to place two measures on the ballot. One would change the city’s name from Guadalupe to Guadalupe Beach. The other would create an annual $20-parcel tax to raise funds for the city library.
Guadalupe is facing a deficit of approximately $447,000—a daunting amount for a city with a population of roughly 7,000 people.
“I’d say 99 percent of that can be attributed to the city losing its redevelopment agency,” Mayor Lupe Alvarez told the Sun. “Of course, we’re one of about 400 cities that lost their RDAs.”
Alvarez explained that part of the redevelopment money was being used to reimburse the general fund because city employees were doing work for the agency.
“It compounds all the other economic woes most cities are going through,” he said, citing stagnant tax revenues as an example.
Alvarez said he suggested changing the city’s name as a tax-free way to generate revenue by attracting the city’s first hotel or RV park.
“It’s not the first time this has been discussed. I think it was brought up even before Grover Beach changed its name—from Grover City to Grover Beach—in the early ’90s,” he said. “We need to increase our profile and give our city more positive exposure without raising taxes.”
The name change must be approved by 50 percent of the vote, plus one.
But does changing a city’s name really impact its revenues?
“We didn’t do a study, but let’s put it this way: I can’t see it hurting,” Alvarez said. “The beach is already called Guadalupe Beach. For some old timers it will always be Guadalupe, but the tourists don’t have that connection.”
The parcel tax, which was recommended by library staff and the nonprofit group Friends of the Guadalupe Library, is meant to offset the facility’s operational costs, such as utilities.
If approved, the initiative would generate approximately $34,000 annually. It requires a two-thirds vote to pass.
“The library is important to the community, the kids who do research there who go to Kermit McKenzie across the street, and those who are unemployed and might be searching online for jobs or working on their résumés,” Alvarez said.
He said he thinks both of the measures have a good chance.
“The name change only needs 50 percent plus one. The other depends on the mood of the voters,” he said.
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