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Lompoc community members hold signs advocating for letting residents vote on a sales tax increase during a rally outside City Hall in this May 7, 2019, file photo. The Lompoc Chamber of Commerce will host a luncheon titled 'Let's Talk Sales Tax' on July 18.

As the city of Lompoc continues to deal with budget cutbacks, the Lompoc Chamber of Commerce is inviting community members to take part in a "Let's Talk Sales Tax" luncheon.

The event is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1201 North H St. Among the planned speakers are Mayor Jenelle Osborne, City Manager Jim Throop and City Finance Director Dean Albro. It is expected that they will discuss the city’s budget and how it could be impacted by a sales tax increase.

Registration for the luncheon is open through Monday, July 15. The cost is $23 for Chamber members and $28 for non-members. Attendees can register online at bit.ly/JulyChamberLuncheon, by calling 805-736-4567, or by visiting the Chamber office at 111 South I St.

The Lompoc City Council voted 4-1 during Monday’s special session to adopt a 2019-21 biennial budget that is heavy on cuts, including the elimination of several positions. The adopted budget does not include any projections from a potential sales tax increase, but the governing body discussed parameters for a ballot measure to increase the city’s sales tax and made plans to further review those options at a future meeting.

The event will take place less than a month after the Lompoc City Council adopted a 2019-21 biennial budget that calls for several cuts within the city and does not factor in potential revenue from a sales tax increase, which had been proposed by city staff as a way to help offset budget deficits.

Also last month, the Lompoc Chamber put out an online survey to gauge how local residents felt about a potential 1% increase to the city's sales tax, which is currently 7.75%.

A sales tax increase, which would have to be approved by voters, has been a major topic of discussion throughout this year's budget hearings. 

Throop first proposed a sales tax increase during the City Council's first budget workshop on March 19, and Osborne used a significant portion of her State of the City address on April 4 to outline why she felt the increase was needed.

Some residents also staged a rally outside City Hall on May 7 in an effort to encourage the City Council to put the sales tax increase on a future ballot.

The Lompoc City Council is slated to further discuss the issue at a future meeting.

For more information on the Lompoc Chamber's monthly luncheons, as well as other Chamber events, visit www.Lompoc.com.

The Lompoc City Council took a significant step toward approving its next budget on Tuesday night, but the progress was met with a sharp rebuke from the city’s mayor and some members of the public. The City Council voted 3-2 to move forward with a version of the 2019-21 biennial budget that is heavy on cost reductions — including the suspension or elimination of several staff positions — and does not take into account any projected funds from a potential sales tax increase, which was initially proposed by City Manager Jim Throop in March as a way for the city to increase revenue.

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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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Reporter

Willis Jacobson covers news and other issues, primarily those that affect the Lompoc Valley and Vandenberg Air Force Base, for Lee Central Coast News. He is a graduate of The University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.