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What You Need to Know About Today's City Council Meeting

Banning plastic bags, raising the hotel tax and approving the 2012-2013 budget are among the items on today's agenda.

The Santa Cruz City Council has a whopper of a day before them, first meeting in closed session at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the disposition of several city-owned properties, including parcels located off Harbor Drive and at Frederick and Broadway streets.

According to the agenda, the council will also discuss liability claims and existing litigation with their legal counsel.

During their 3 p.m. meeting, the council will motion for the final adoption of a city ordinance increasing the speed limit on 11 city streets from 25 mph to 30 mph. Those streets are:

  • Bay St. from California Ave. and West Cliff Dr.
  • Delaware Ave. from Swift St. and Woodrow
  • High St. from Bay Dr. to the city limit
  • High St. from Bay Dr. and Laurent St.
  • High St. from Storey St. and Laurent St.
  • Isbel Dr. from Bartlett St. and Carbonera Dr.
  • Market St. Avalon St. and Curtis St.
  • Morrissey Blvd. from Pacheco Ave. and Prospect Hts.
  • Natural Bridges Blvd. from Mission St. and Deleware Ave.
  • Western Dr. from Meder St. and Mission St.
  • Western Dr. from Meder St. and High St.

Switching to fiscal issues, the council will motion on a resolution to adopt the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget, effective July 1.

A resolution accepting $99,498 in grants from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to fund an assistance program for alcohol enforcement and education will also be considered.

Visitors and tourists who stay in Santa Cruz hotels and motels may soon be paying a 12 percent Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) if the council approves the report of their Ad Hoc Revenue Task Force during this session and directs staff to bring back a finalized TOT ordinance, increasing the tax by 2 percent, to the council's July 24 meeting.

According to the agenda report, the public holds a favorable view of increasing the TOT because it minimally impacts permanent residents.

The report states that a one percent increase would amount to $440,000 in general fund receipts annually. Currently, the TOT sits at 10 percent, a rate equal to the California average but below cities like Seaside, Marina and Santa Barbara.

Before adjourning to their 7 p.m. meeting, coucilmembers will appoint a Planning Commissioner.

When they reconvene in the evening, the council will pick-up with discussion of banning single-use plastic bags in the city, including possibly passing a negative declaration.

The council will then move to the introduction of an ordinance amending the city's municipal code "Environmentally Acceptable Food Packaging Ordinance" to the "Environmentally Acceptable Packaging and Products Ordinance." Restrictions on the sale of additional polystyrene/plastic foam products will also be added by amending several city code sections.

Lastly, the council will introduce an ordinance amending the city municipal code by adding a chapter establishing minimum standards for electronic waste recycling. E-waste collected by the city would have to be delivered to a certified recycler and e-waste recyclers operating within the city to be certified.

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