Preliminary results from the Santa Cruz County Election Department totaled the ballots at 1,788 votes — 74.91 percent — in favor of the measure, and 599 votes — 25.09 percent — against it. It needed a simple majority to pass.
“I’m just really thankful that people in the community responded to our need for additional revenue to keep our services intact,” said Mayor Randy Johnson, a driving force behind the campaign.
The passage of the measure will implement an 8-year, ½-cent sales tax increase designed to close the city’s budget deficit, which is targeted at about $1.2 million in 2014.
“It allows us to keep police, maintain our parks and to do the basics, like roads, etcetera,” Johnson said Wednesday.
The sales tax — which will increase from 8.25 to 8.75 percent — will take effect within city limits on April 1, 2014. The State Board of Equalization will notify retailers of the change by then.
Johnson said fellow council members Dene Bustichi and Donna Lind were instrumental in the campaign. Bustichi worked on the signage and Lind by way of social media to spread the city council’s message. He also noted Police Chief John Weiss spent a significant amount of time campaigning for the tax.
About 35 percent of the city’s 6,839 voters turned out to the polls or mailed ballots in by election night. As of Wednesday afternoon, county elections officials were still counting 375 vote by mail ballots and 53 provisional ballots.
County Clerk Gail Pellerin hopes to have the election certified by Friday, Nov. 15. The deadline to certify is December 4.
Measure U was one of two measures voted on countywide. The Loma Prieta Joint Elementary School District passed a parcel tax with more than 75 percent approval.