Santa Barbara plans to spend $5.15 million to repair city streets once it starts collecting Measure C sales tax money on April 1, including traffic signals, sidewalks, access ramps, street lights and storm drains. The Santa Barbara City Council voted last week to prioritize infrastructure project funding with the Measure C revenues, which can be used for any general governmental services. The council’s list of funding priorities are: immediately begin repairs of city streets; planning, permitting and bonding for a new police station; replace Fire Station 7; and support projects at parks and libraries.
City voters approved the Measure C sales tax increase, to a rate of 8.75 percent, in November, and it is expected to generate $22 million annually. It will raise an estimated $5.5 million in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. “The next really significant project that I think the community is really looking forward to and is certainly a project of a lifetime is planning, permitting and bonding for a police station,” said Public Works Department Director Rebecca Bjork.
The Santa Barbara Police Department has outgrown the current station at 215 E. Figueroa St., which was built in 1959 and is not seismically safe, according to the city.The city plans to spend $350,000 of the Measure C money on preliminary design for a new station and evaluating alternative sites for the building.
Bjork said she expects the city would have to spend “substantially more before we are ready to go out to a bond,” and that the $350,000 amount is just for the current fiscal year. “We will need very quickly to bring an architectural firm on board,” Bjork said.
She said the city is also looking to hire a principal planning engineer and an environmental planner to oversee the police station project. The council also appointed a three-member committee made up of Randy Rowse, Jason Dominguez and Kristen Sneddon to review potential sites for a new police station. The city also plans to appoint seven members of a citizens oversight committee to review the Measure C expenditures.
*Thank you Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer for text and midtowngary.com for photo*