Scotts Valley senior center, child care upgrades to be weighed

Emergency responders set up a temporary command center at the Scotts Valley Senior Center during the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in 2020. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

6 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 / Online and at 1 Civic Center Drive, Scotts Valley

At its April 17 meeting, the Scotts Valley City Council plans to consider how to spend $367,000 in state grant money to benefit low- and moderate-income residents, prevent blight or meet an urgent community need.

City staff suggested spending the money on accessibility and other improvements at the Scotts Valley Senior Center at 370 Kings Village Road, partly because it would meet income requirements of the grant. Some senior center users have expressed “concerns and frustrations” about the center, according to a city staff report. 

Two public meetings were held in March to gather input on how to spend the money. Residents at both meetings suggested funding more child care in the city. One resident described the lack of child care in the county as “acute” suggesting that a day care program “could potentially meet the urgent community need requirement,” city staff wrote.

The grant money came from the state Department of Housing and Community Development. It is expected to be spent in the next three fiscal years.

—Nik Altenberg

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 669-900-9128, meeting ID 832 9573 0901. Attend at 1 Civic Center Drive in Scotts Valley. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected]. The meeting will be broadcast on YouTube.

Stay informed on Santa Cruz County’s biggest issues.

Santa Cruz Local’s newsletter breaks down complex local topics and shows residents how to get involved.


Potential tax hikes for the November ballot

In June, the Capitola City Council is expected to discuss whether to include a sales tax measure on the Nov. 5 ballot. The council meets at Capitola City Hall at 420 Capitola Ave. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

The Capitola City Council on April 11 considered two options for a sales tax for the November ballot, and the plan to revisit the issue in June. Capitola’s sales tax is now 9%.

  • One option would extend Measure F — a quarter-cent sales tax hike approved by voters in 2016 — for another 10 years. It would keep the city’s sales tax at 9%. Measure F raises $1.1 million annually and is set to expire in 2027. 
  • The other potential measure would make the city’s sales tax 9.25%. It would replace Measure F with a half-cent sales tax and raise $2.2 million annually for 10 years.

The higher sales tax could help resolve the city’s long-term budget worries, said Capitola Assistant City Manager Chloe Woodmansee. The city council did not choose between the two options. City staff are set to return to the council in June with more information about the two potential measures.

Separately, an $87 parcel tax to fund environmental protection and water management in Santa Cruz County may be heading to the Nov. 5 ballot. 

On April 11, a group of environmental advocates presented the county clerk with signatures that support the proposed ballot measure. The measure’s authors said the tax could support defensible space in forests, clean water and new parks programs. The measure would need more than 50% of the vote to be adopted.

—Jesse Kathan


Downtown Streets Team expands

The Downtown Streets Team removes litter from nine areas of Santa Cruz County, now including Boulder Creek. (Downtown Streets Team)

The Downtown Streets Team began litter removal services in downtown Boulder Creek on April 12, and the team plans to pick up trash there at least once a week in a new six-month pilot program.

The team includes volunteers and part-time employees who clean streets, parks and other public spaces while they find ways out of homelessness. 

The program “fosters community, kindles confidence, reaffirms dignity, and develops employment skills like punctuality, cooperation, and personal responsibility,” wrote J.M. Brown, a staff member of Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson. “Case managers and employment specialists provide work readiness training, case management and employment services” to volunteers and employees, Brown wrote. 

Teams now collect litter in Downtown Santa Cruz, Midtown Santa Cruz, Davenport, Felton, Boulder Creek, Cowell Beach, the San Lorenzo River levee, near Harvey West Park and the county’s Emeline Avenue complex. The program started in Palo Alto in 2005 and expanded to Santa Cruz in 2017. It is funded by federal, state and county dollars.

—Stephen Baxter

Santa Cruz Local journalists wrote these briefs and previews for our weekly newsletter. Want to receive these local updates, a preview of recent articles and more in your inbox each Sunday? Sign up for our free newsletter.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]. Santa Cruz Local is supported by members, major donors, sponsors and grants for the general support of our newsroom. Our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Learn more about Santa Cruz Local and how we are funded.

Learn about membership
Santa Cruz Local’s news is free. We believe that high-quality local news is crucial to democracy. We depend on locals like you to make a meaningful contribution so everyone can access our news.
Learn about membership
Website | + posts

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.

Reporter / California Local News Fellow | + posts

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.

Website | + posts

Stephen Baxter is a co-founder and editor of Santa Cruz Local. He covers Santa Cruz County government.