Laguna Beach officials said Thursday that despite unexpected pledges of $16.7 million from federal and state officials, they still supported a sales tax increase that voters approved to pay for repairs from last year's landslides.
The half-cent-on-the-dollar tax hike, which begins July 1, was intended primarily to cover repairs in Bluebird Canyon that the city thought would be ineligible for much state and federal relief. But after state and federal agencies agreed to cover $16.7 million of the expected $18 million in costs, city officials said they would still need the extra tax revenue to build a $4-million fund for future disasters.
The tax revenue also will cover landslide repairs that are ineligible for state and federal aid, including a project to re-grade portions of a wrecked hillside along Flamingo Road, said City Manager Kenneth C. Frank.
"Whether we like it or not, every five or six years we have some problem, and we've never had a fund set up to pay for that problem," Frank said.