“The state of our city is good,” City Manager of Goleta Michelle Greene told prominent business and community leaders at the 9th Annual State of the City address. “Our dedicated and professional staff is managing a multitude of projects and initiatives to serve our community better. Not only am I proud to lead those efforts, but I’m proud to live in Goleta and to be raising my family here, as well,” said Greene, who was joined by Goleta Mayor Jim Farr on Thursday, May 5, at the Bacara Resort & Spa to update community members about Goleta’s goings-on.
Notable highlights of a thriving economy in Goleta include hundreds of new housing units in Hollister Village; new businesses including Smart & Final, Pascucci, and Nothing Bundt Cakes; and the opening of the Ice in Paradise skating facility and brand-new Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.
“More people are visiting Goleta than ever before,” Greene said of tourism. Hotels in Goleta had a 83 percent occupancy rate in 2015, higher than that of Santa Barbara. “If you build hotels in Goleta, people will come,” Greene said, channeling her best Field of Dreams impression.
Another highlight of the address included the announcement that Station 10, a new Santa Barbara County fire station that will be located in western Goleta, will likely go under construction in fall 2017.
Meanwhile, Farr, who is recovering from a stroke he had about nine months ago, addressed education in Goleta and the untapped “genius” coming from UCSB. “Our schools are arguably the best on the south coast,” Farr said of the university, as well as primary and secondary schools in the area.
Farr waded through some more controversial subjects as the topic of conversation turned to the economy of Goleta. He spoke at length about his opposition to the Revenue Neutrality Agreement (RNA)—a sentiment that is wholly his own and not shared by the city council. The RNA, approved in 2001, requires that the city of Goleta give the county of Santa Barbara 50 percent of property tax revenues, 30 percent of sales tax revenues, and zero transient-occupancy-tax (TOT) revenues. “The result,” Farr continued, “is that we give them a lot of money.” Farr claimed that city staff calculated that Goleta has given the county of Santa Barbara $100 million, an “astounding” and “staggering” figure. “We need to hammer on the RNA,” Farr said. “It’s critically important to Goleta’s future that we get that $5 million a year.”