Santa Clara State of the City: Big tax boost from summer concerts and reduced deficit

Santa Clara held its State of the City event tonight, recapping a busy summer of major concerts and plans for the city’s future.   

The mayor talked about the financial progress the city has made since the pandemic, but she also emphasized Santa Clara’s strength in its diversity and pride in the community.  

"Santa Clara residents have a spirit, so vibrant coupled with a unique sense of community pride," said Jovan Grogan, Santa Clara city manager.  

Grogan opened the 2023 State of the City Address held at Mission City Center for Performing Arts. Mayor Lisa Gillmor talked about how the city has been climbing back since the pandemic began three years ago.  

"We’re not completely back to pre-pandemic levels, but our rate of growth is positive and Santa Clara’s future remains optimistic," said Gillmor.

Gillmor says after making some tough decisions, the city’s deficit decreased from $27 million to $9 million. 

During that time, voters also passed two business tax measures and hotel taxes increased. She says nearly all hotels were completely booked when major concerts came to Levi’s Stadium, including Ed Sheeran, with a record-breaking 80,000 attendees.   

"We renamed our city for a weekend to ‘Swiftie Clara’ with Taylor Swift serving as Honorary Mayor and paid tribute to Beyoncé with a special Key to the City and named her Honorary Mayor as well," Gillmor said.   

Gillmore says the city is moving forward with BART service, the Hopper Shuttle, more bike lanes and crosswalks. In 2026, both the FIFA World Cup and the Super Bowl will be in Santa Clara.  

"We’re going to have two major, global events in one year within months of each other. So, everybody rest up, ok." Gillmore said. 

Santa Clara City Council members recognized dedicated volunteers in each district, presenting them with awards. The event also showcased traditional Korean, Indian and Portuguese performances, highlighting different cultures in Santa Clara.  

"There are efforts underway to bring back Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, DEI to begin their listening sessions with the community as well as expand our cultural events," Gillmor.   

Gillmor also mentioned that Santa Clara recently opened its first urban farm that includes 165 affordable housing units for older adults.