County sales tax hike considered for March ballot

Live Oak Super is seen with an overcast sky.

Sales tax could rise to 9.5% from 9% in Live Oak and other unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County, if voters approve a potential March ballot measure. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 / Online and at Room 525, 701 Ocean St., Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 5 is expected to consider whether to add a sales tax question to the March 5, 2024 ballot. 

A The proposal would raise the sales tax to 9.5% from 9% in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County. Unincorporated areas are outside the cities of Watsonville, Scotts Valley, Capitola and Santa Cruz.

The measure could raise about $10 million annually, according to a county staff report. The increase could help fund new housing on county land, more homelessness services, climate change adaptation, road repair and other services, the report stated.

County leaders have said that revenue from property taxes and other sources is not enough to pay for essential services. About half of Santa Cruz County residents live in unincorporated areas of the county.

—Jesse Kathan

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 669-900-6833, meeting ID 8 899 4924 0497. The meeting also will be streamed on Facebook. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5 p.m. Monday.

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Survey, meeting on Highway 1 features

A rendering shows a bus-on-shoulder design included in Highway 1 improvements through Santa Cruz County.

A rendering shows a bus-on-shoulder design included in Highway 1 improvements through Santa Cruz County. (Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission)

6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 / Rio Sands Hotel, 116 Aptos Beach Drive, Aptos

Leaders of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission want residents’ input on some planned highway improvements between State Park Drive and Freedom Boulevard and Segment 12 of the rail trail.

Transportation commission staff want feedback on the aesthetics of features such as sound walls, retaining walls, murals, fences and privacy barriers.

A community meeting will take place on Dec. 5 in Aptos, and an online survey is available through December. Transportation commission staff plan to present an overview of Highway 1 work between State Park Drive and Freedom Boulevard. It includes auxiliary and bus-on-shoulder lanes, replacement of two railroad bridges and improvements to the Aptos Creek bridge. 

The project also includes construction of Segment 12 of the Coastal Rail Trail, which runs from State Park Drive to Rio Del Mar Boulevard.

—Nik Altenberg


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Reporter / California Local News Fellow

Jesse Kathan is a staff reporter for Santa Cruz Local through the California Local News Fellowship. They hold a master's degree in science communications from UC Santa Cruz.

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Nik Altenberg is a copy editor and fact checker for Santa Cruz Local. Altenberg has a bachelor’s in Latin American and Latinx Studies from UC Santa Cruz.