Chapter 3.14


3.14.010    Title and purpose.

3.14.020    Definitions.

3.14.030    Necessity, authority, and purpose.

3.14.040    Tax levy.

3.14.050    Purposes and uses of tax.

3.14.060    Exemptions.

3.14.070    Computation and collection of tax – Interest and penalties.

3.14.080    Accountability – Citizen’s oversight committee.

3.14.090    Examination of books and records and annual audit.

3.14.100    Property tax.

3.14.110    Refund of tax, penalty, or interest paid more than once, or erroneously or illegally collected.

3.14.120    Savings clause.

3.14.130    Regulations.

3.14.140    Increase appropriations limit.


This chapter may be cited as the “Clean River, Beaches and Ocean Tax Ordinance.”

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


The following words and phrases whenever used in this chapter shall be construed and defined in this section as follows:

(a)    “Director” shall mean the director of public works, or his/her designee.

(b)    “Owner” shall mean the legal owner of any parcel of real property, except when the legal owner of the real property is such due to the holding of a mortgage, note or other security, in which case the “owner” shall be deemed to be the beneficial owner of said parcel of real property.

(c)    “Parcel” shall mean the smallest, separately segregated lot, unit or plot of land having an identified owner, boundaries and surface area which is documented for property tax purposes and given an assessor’s identification number by the county of Santa Cruz tax assessor.

(d)    “Parcel size” shall mean the size of the parcel measured in acres.

(e)    “Possessory interest” shall mean possession of, claim to, or right to the possession of land or improvements and shall include any exclusive right to the use of such land or improvements.

(f)    “Single-family dwelling” shall mean a developed tax parcel with one single-family housing unit, and not more than one additional permitted accessory dwelling unit.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


(a)    The city council of the city of Santa Cruz hereby finds:

(1)    That the reduction of pollution, trash, toxics and dangerous bacteria in our streams, river, bay, ocean and on our beaches is necessary to protect public health and safety, to protect fish and wildlife habitat, to protect the environment, and to protect the quality of life and economic vitality of the city;

(2)    That the city is mandated, under federal and state law, to protect water quality and reduce water pollution associated with runoff from streets and properties in the city;

(3)    That the cost for programs and projects necessary to reduce and prevent water pollution at the level required exceeds the amount of revenues available from other sources;

(4)    That additional revenues are needed to fund improved management practices for protection of watersheds and water quality; maintenance, capital improvements, environmental restoration, and upgrades to stormwater collection, conveyance, management and treatment systems; implementation of stormwater best management practices; and public education and outreach activities to prevent and reduce pollution;

(5)    That the levy of a city-wide special tax as hereinafter provided is necessary to fund the foregoing municipal improvements and services.

(b)    The ordinance codified in this chapter was approved by the voters of the city at the consolidated state general election held on November 4, 2008, by the following vote:

Yes: 76.25%

No: 23.75%

Accordingly, the city of Santa Cruz clean river, beaches and ocean ordinance (the “tax”) is levied under this chapter pursuant to the city’s charter, Government Code Section 50075 et seq., and other applicable laws.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).

3.14.040 TAX LEVY.

The tax as set forth in this section is hereby levied as follows, commencing the fiscal year 2008-2009, on all parcels, improved or unimproved, within the boundaries of the city.

(a)    For each parcel which is a single-family dwelling, the annual tax rate shall be twenty-eight dollars.

(b)    For each developed parcel that is not a single-family dwelling, the annual tax rate shall be ninety-four dollars.

(c) For each undeveloped or park parcel that is not a single-family dwelling, the annual tax rate shall be ten dollars.

(d)    The tax imposed by this chapter shall be assessed to the owner unless the owner is by law exempt from taxation, in which case the tax imposed shall be assessed to the holder of the possessory interest in such parcel, unless such holder is also by law exempt from taxation.

(e)    For the purposes specified in Section 3.14.050, the tax shall be levied so long as it is necessary to pay for any financing of capital improvements, and so long as necessary for services as specified in Section 3.14.050.

(f)    The tax is levied pursuant to California Government Code Section 50075 et seq. and is a tax upon each parcel of property.

(g)    The amount of the tax is not measured by the value of the parcel.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


(a)    There is hereby established a special segregated fund entitled “Clean River, Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax Fund” to be maintained and administered by the city.

(b)    Proceeds of the tax, together with any interest and penalties thereon (collectively, the “tax proceeds”), shall be collected each fiscal year and deposited in said special fund, and shall be used exclusively for the purpose of reducing and preventing water pollution and managing stormwater runoff, including but not limited to improved management practices for protection of watersheds and water quality; maintenance, capital improvements, environmental restoration, and upgrades to stormwater collection, conveyance, management and treatment systems; implementation of stormwater best management practices; and public education and outreach activities to prevent and reduce water pollution; as well as complying with local, state, and federal stormwater regulations and paying for, or securing the payment of, any indebtedness incurred for these purposes, and any and all other purposes as more fully discussed therein.

(c)    The tax proceeds may also be used to enforce and administer the tax, including costs for submission of any measure to the voters for the establishment or alteration of the tax, and any costs that may be assessed by the County of Santa Cruz in connection with the collection of the tax.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).

3.14.060 EXEMPTIONS.

The tax imposed by this chapter shall not be construed as imposing a tax upon any person when the imposition of such tax upon that person would be in violation of either the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of California.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


(a)    The director or his/her designee or employee is hereby authorized and directed each fiscal year, commencing with the fiscal year 2008-2009, to determine the tax amount to be levied for the next ensuing fiscal year for each taxable parcel of real property within the city, in the manner and as provided in Section 3.14.040. The city finance director is hereby authorized and directed to provide all necessary information to the auditor-controller of the county of Santa Cruz to affect proper billing and collection of the tax, so that the installments of the tax shall be included on the secured property tax roll of the county of Santa Cruz. Unless otherwise required by the council, no council action shall be required to authorize the annual collection of the tax as herein provided.

(b)    The tax shall be collected in the same manner as ordinary ad valorem taxes are collected and shall have the same lien priority, and be subject to the same penalties and the same procedure and sale in cases of delinquency as provided for ad valorem taxes collected by the county of Santa Cruz; provided, however, that the council may provide for other appropriate methods of collection of the tax.

(c)    The tax shall constitute a lien upon the parcel upon which it is levied until it has been paid. Any unpaid tax due under this chapter shall be subject to all remedies provided under the city’s municipal code and as provided by law.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


(a)    Pursuant to Sections 50075.1 and 50075.3 of the California Government Code, the specific purposes of the tax and the requirement that the tax proceeds be applied to such purposes and the establishment of a special fund for the tax proceeds are as set forth in Section 3.14.050. So long as the tax is collected hereunder, commencing no later than July 1, 2010, the finance director is hereby authorized and directed to cause to be prepared and filed with the council a report that shows the amount of tax collected and expended and the status of any projects funded with the tax proceeds. For purposes of this section, the finance director is authorized to retain such consultants, accountants or agents as may be necessary or convenient to accomplish the foregoing.

(b)    The council shall designate a citizen’s oversight committee to review the use of the tax proceeds. The membership, scope and responsibilities of the citizen’s oversight committee shall be determined by the council in its exercise of discretion.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


(a)    The finance director or director of public works or their designee is hereby authorized and directed to examine assessment rolls, property tax records, records of the Santa Cruz County recorder and any other records of the county of Santa Cruz deemed necessary in order to determine ownership of parcels and computation of the tax.

(b)    A certified public accounting firm retained by the city will perform an annual audit to assure accountability of the proper disbursement of these tax proceeds in accordance with the objectives stated herein.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).

3.14.100 PROPERTY TAX.

This special parcel tax is a property tax and qualified property owners and renters shall be entitled to the benefits of the Gonsalves-Deukmejian-Petris Senior Citizen’s Property Tax Assistance Law (California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 20501 et seq.) and the Senior Citizens and Disabled Property Tax Postponement Law (California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 20581 et seq.).

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


When the amount of the tax, any penalty, or any interest has been paid more than once, or has been erroneously or illegally collected or received by the city under this chapter, it may be refunded provided a verified claim in writing therefor, stating the specific grounds upon which the claim is founded, is filed with the finance director within one year from the date of payment. If the claim is approved by the finance director, the excess amount collected or paid may be refunded or may be credited against any amounts then due and payable from the person from whom it is collected or by whom paid, and the balance may be refunded to such person, his/her administrators or executors.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any person, or to any property as to whom or which it is beyond the power of the city to impose the tax herein provided. If any provision, sentence, clause, section or part of this chapter is found to be unconstitutional, illegal or invalid, such unconstitutionality, illegality or invalidity shall affect only such provision, sentence, clause, section or part of this chapter and shall not affect or impair any remaining provisions, sentences, clauses, sections or parts of this chapter. It is hereby declared to be the intention of the city that this chapter would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal or invalid provision, sentence, clause, section or part thereof not been included herein.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


The finance director is hereby authorized to promulgate such regulations as she or he shall deem necessary in order to implement the provisions of this chapter.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).


Pursuant to California Constitution Article XIIIB, the appropriations limit for the city of Santa Cruz is hereby increased by the aggregate sum authorized to be levied by this tax for the fiscal year 2008-2009 and each year thereafter.

(Ord. 2008-21 § 1 (part), 2008).