The Santa Barbara County Supervisors voted Tuesday to place an 8 percent utility user tax on Isla Vista households on the June 5 ballot. If approved by two-thirds of I.V. voters, the recently formed Community Services District is expected to raise about $642,000 annually from taxes on gas, water, electricity, sewer, and garbage services. Proponents of the tax say it would cost ratepayers an additional $5 to $10 each month.
According to the ballot language, the money would fund “local improvements to parking, public safety, lighting, and sidewalks; provide tenant mediation services; create a municipal advisory council; and operate community facilities and events.”
In November 2016, a similar tax measure failed; it came within about 5 percentage points of reaching the 66 percent threshold. At the time I.V. landlords launched an opposition campaign. They papered the streets of I.V. with flyers printed on green copy paper warning residents that their already high rents would rise. The landlords raised about $40,000. Proponents of the tax raised more than $105,000, most of which came from County Supervisor Das Williams who played an instrumental role in creating the district.