More Annual Dough for Goleta

After a Decade, City Can Take Some Taxes Away from County

Wouldn’t you like a few million dollars when you turned 10 years old?

That’s what the City of Goleta is starting to enjoy this summer, as a series of financial boosts kicked in as part of the deal that the city’s pioneers hashed out with the County of Santa Barbara back when it achieved cityhood in 2002. Though the so-called “Revenue Neutrality Agreement” (RNA) — which was mandated by the state and intended to keep the county on even footing while giving the new city enough annual funding to survive — is still widely hated by many in the Good Land, the fiscal year starting July 1 will see the city get 70 percent of sales tax (as compared to 50 percent before) and 100 percent of bed tax (compared to just 60 percent).

Add the soon-to-be-completed Marriott Hotel on Storke Road and City Manager Dan Singer expects a 20-percent increase in revenue from the past year’s $15.3 million to $18.7 million in 2012-2013. Singer said that the extra money will likely be used for public-safety costs and road maintenance, as well as to replenish reserves that were tapped last year knowing that additional revenue was coming.

“It was a mitigation period, a transitional period,” Singer said of the RNA, which still gets complaints despite these changes, with critics claiming the city gave away too much tax. “Now, as of July 1, we’ve ended that 10 years. And as a result, we get back certain revenues.”

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