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Santa Maria to lose millions in revenue from coronavirus fallout, city officials say
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Santa Maria to lose millions in revenue from coronavirus fallout, city officials say

Santa Maria is projected to lose $3 million in sales tax revenue alone through June as a result of business closures and social distancing connected to the coronavirus, with the losses escalating as time goes on, city officials said Tuesday.

Along with the projected $3 million sales tax loss, the city is also expecting losses in property tax, transient-occupancy tax, and permit revenues, according to city spokesman Mark van de Kamp. 

“This is beyond staggering,” van de Kamp said. “The city cannot sustain service levels or avoid impacts to our employees unless we get help soon.”

As a result of the projected losses, the city has declared a state of emergency and imposed a hiring freeze in all city departments, and has furloughed 93 hourly city employees. 

Sales tax, including Measure U tax, makes up nearly half of the city's general fund, which is used to support public safety and other municipal services. 

Closures of hotels, restaurants, wineries and retailers have all contributed to sales tax losses, van de Kamp said.

"At this point the city is really at the mercy of the state Legislature and federal government to provide it relief to help bridge this rapidly worsening financial chasm until the economy recovers," van de Kamp said. 

While the governor's office announced on April 2 that small businesses will be able to defer payments to local jurisdictions as cities navigate heavy revenue loss, van de Kamp said the city is hoping for further support for other entities including public safety.