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City 7-3

Citing huge costs and technological uncertainty, the Santa Barbara City Council balked at making City Hall carbon neutral by the year 2020. Dave Davis, executive director of the Community Environmental Council, urged councilmembers to endorse the concept, prompting Councilmember Dale Francisco to retort that the goal was “almost crazy.” The matter was sent back to the finance and sustainability committees for further study. City Hall facilities and vehicles current generate about 13,000 metric tons of carbon annually. (/carbon703)

The Santa Barbara City Council approved a measure for the November election that asks voters to reaffirm a 38-year-old tax imposed on customers of the telecommunications industry, which generates roughly $4 million annually. The council voted to drop the utility users’ tax rate from the existing 6 percent to 5.75 percent. Half the proceeds from the tax have gone to road maintenance and improvements; the other half has gone to the general fund. (/phonetax)

Responding to police complaints that their locker and exercise rooms-located in the basement of the Figueroa Street headquarters-are too old, cramped, dilapidated, poorly ventilated, and small, the Santa Barbara City Council approved plans to spend $5.2 million to refurbish them.

Santa Barbara Planning Chief Paul Casey outlined how public outreach for Plan Santa Barbara-City Hall’s slow-moving effort to rewrite the general plan-will hasten in the months ahead. Public forums held thus far on the future of Santa Barbara reveal a stark dichotomy: Older residents generally want to maintain the existing community character in terms of size, bulk, scale, and traffic, while younger residents yearn for better sustainability and affordability.

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