Santa Cruz Local newsletter briefs for the week of June 17:

  1. Scotts Valley adopts budget, eyes tax hike
  2. State lawmakers form Central Coast caucus


Scotts Valley adopts budget, eyes tax hike

A photo of four Scotts Valley city council members sitting at the dais. Behind them are a city emblem on the wall and an American flag.

From left, Scotts Valley City Councilmembers Donna Lind, Alan Timms, Mayor Randy Jonson and Derek Timm. (Marcello Hutchinson-Trujillo — Santa Cruz Local)

The Scotts Valley City Council approved a $40 million city budget on June 12 and took a step toward putting a business tax hike on the Nov. 5 ballot. 

To help cover an average annual deficit of $2.5 million, city staff has proposed to raise the cost of business licenses. The business license fee was established in 1992 and has not been raised since. It costs $50, plus $40 for each employee. 

City council members expressed support for a new business license fee scaled to a business’s earnings. Because the fee is legally considered a tax, the change would require voter approval. In August, city staff are set to propose a measure for the Nov. 5 ballot.

The city council on June 12 also adopted a city budget for the fiscal year that starts in July. It includes $40 million in spending and is expected to use $4 million of General Fund reserves. The approved budget allocates $10 million towards capital improvements, including $375,000 for culvert and storm drain repair and $1.5 million for public works facilities. 

—Jesse Kathan

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State lawmakers form Central Coast caucus

A photo of Gail Pellerin and John Laird sitting at a table with a banner hanging from the table reading "Democratic Women's Club of Santa Cruz County."

State Assemblymember Gail Pellerin, D-Santa Cruz, and state Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, discuss recent legislation at a June 13 Democratic Women’s Club meeting in Santa Cruz. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

Three state legislators who represent parts of Santa Cruz County recently helped form a new Central Coast Legislative Caucus to prioritize regional issues in the California state assembly and senate.

Caucuses in the California legislature are coalitions of representatives who work together to achieve shared goals. There are caucuses to support environmental causes, technology, women’s rights and many other issues. 

Assemblymember Dawn Addis, D-San Luis Obispo, is the chair of the 10-member Central Coast caucus, and inaugural members include Assemblymember Gail Pellerin, D-Santa Cruz, state Sen. John Laird and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, D-Salinas. Caucus members represent coastal areas from Ventura to Santa Cruz counties.

“I’m thrilled to join my colleagues to celebrate and protect what makes the Central Coast great,” Addis wrote in a statement. “Our resilient coastal communities add so much to California’s cultural and economic fabric — it’s well past time that our state representatives join together to advocate for our region’s unique needs.”

—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.

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