SEASIDE, Calif. -
Seaside voters will cast ballots in a special election Tuesday focusing on two tax measures that leaders say will help the city work its way out of a $1.4 million projected deficit.
The city has nearly $195 million in capital needs for police, fire, 911 emergency response, street maintenance, water cleanliness and city parks. But Seaside is in so much debt the City Council declared a fiscal emergency, which is why they unanimously voted to put measures L and G on the ballot.
“The opportunity with L and G is to put Seaside on a stronger financial footing," said Seaside City Manager Craig Malin.
Measure L is a half-cent increase raising the sales tax from 8.75 to 9.25. It is expected to generate $1.9 million annually.
"Tax is a necessary evil,” said Seaside resident Gio Stevagio. “You need it in order to pay for infrastructure and police and fire protection so I am assuming the city officials know what they are doing."
The city says tourists and visitors spend more money in Seaside than residents and the money would go to fund city services but not all agree that a tax is the way to go.
"I think we are taxed enough. I don't think that's fair,” said Hanna Cromwell, of Seaside. “Everyone is having a rough time right now, we are in a better shape than we have been, but I think they should reduce the taxes and give people a chance to spend that money."
Also on Tuesday's ballot is Measure G. It would place a 10 percent tax on businesses selling marijuana and would generate an estimated $300,000. It also wouldn't discourage shops from coming to Seaside, according to Malin.
"Seaside would be the first city in the region to allow and tax marijuana businesses. I think they would welcome the opportunity to come to Seaside," said Malin.
All the money generated from measures L and G will be spent on local needs. Both measures would also be permanent unless voters later decide to overturn them.