Save Our Bay & Vote Yes on B-22

I am compelled to speak in support of Measure B-22 even though I may lose some friends over it. Nobody likes taxes.  Our country was founded on the unfair imposition of taxes from a government across the ocean. Yet the reality is that taxes pay for things we all want and need. Good roads.  Our own police and fire departments. City staff to support and implement what we want done.  

There are few California coastal towns of 10,000 residents that can support all that we have in Morro Bay.  Why? Because we have a bay.  We have a port.  We have businesses on the water.  We have a U.S. Coast Guard Station. We have a Yacht Club.  We have two oyster farms. We have a traditional fishing industry.  We have sea otters and surf.  We have tourists who love to come here because of it all.   Forgive me for thinking this—but how many people really come here to see The Rock?  In my mind Morro Bay is all about THE BAY.   

Ok. Measure B-22 could have been written in a way that would have been more acceptable to more residents. It could have been pro-rated based on each parcel’s assessed value.  It could have asked for $100/parcel instead of $120 for each.  It could have had a sunset clause. It could have been structured in all kinds of different ways. Yet it has been designed to acknowledge the $10 million dollar capital needs of the Bay and is structured to address them head on.  

By the way, grants are typically awarded to agencies that have significant funds available for projects, but not quite enough to build or complete them.  Agencies with no funds are rarely awarded substantial grants. City staff members and consultants are continually pursuing grants to supplement our own funds and have been highly successful in doing so.  These ongoing efforts will continue with the proceeds from B-22.  

While it would be nice if we could find a way to have our tourists foot the bill, raising taxes sufficient to generate $680,000 a year—is likely to drive most of them away.  

I’m a Morro Bay property owner.  I don’t like taxes.  Yet I moved here for the Bay.  Measure B-22 tackles the infrastructure needs of the Bay head on.   I have confidence that our current and future staff will use these funds wisely.  Let’s give them two to three years and see how they do. If they fall short of our expectations, I will personally lead the charge to repeal the initiative.  In the meantime, I hope you will join me in supporting B-22 on November 8.  And if you don’t, I hope you will still be my friend.

Jeff Heller

Morro Bay City Council

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