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Bad Deal


If the County of Santa Barbara is facing 10 major fiscal issues in the next two years, why did it enter into an agreement with the Chumash that only obligates the tribe to pay an annual amount of $178,000 in lieu of property taxes on Camp 4, a 1,400-acre parcel in the Santa Ynez Valley that they purchased for $44 million? The agreement ceases in 2040.

The tribe claims they will only build 140 single-family homes along with a Tribal Center. If the homes were valued at $500,000 each, the property taxes would be over $770,000 per year.

The paltry sum of $178,000 doesn’t come close to covering the fiscal impact on the remaining citizens in the county for the services that will be provided. It is not even adjusted for inflation. Supervisor Peter Adam was right at the Board of Supervisors meeting when he said agreement with the tribe is “ … ambiguous as to the commitments the county is agreeing to and its ambiguous as to the cost that we are agreeing to and therefore it is a blank check and it is a bad deal for the county.”

Can someone explain to me how Supervisor Das Williams got on the negotiating team, especially since he has taken over $172,400 in campaign contributions from California tribes, including $46,000 from the Chumash, of which $18,000 was given to him after he was elected Santa Barbara County supervisor?

The agreement with the tribe is an embarrassment that will cost the county and its residents for years to come.

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