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Here's what your Measure K tax dollars are funding

Measure K rose the sales tax in unincorporated areas by one cent almost one year ago
Posted at 3:43 PM, Mar 14, 2024

OILDALE, Calif. (KERO) — Measure K took effect in April 2023, and close to a year later that one cent increase in sales tax has generated $39.8 million so far.

  • Video shows what your Measure K tax dollars have funded.
  • Measure K took effect in April 2023, and close to a year later that one cent increase in sales tax has generated $39.8 million so far.
  • Patricia Zloczweski, a business owner in Oildale, says despite the increase in funding for unincorporated areas, she hasn't seen the benefits.

This is just one of the unincorporated areas where residents have been paying one penny more in sales tax since April 2023 because of Measure K.

Since its implementation here’s where your money has gone.

When you’re checking out at your local store like “A Little Bit of This and That” in Oildale, you might have noticed the one-cent increase in sales tax.

It’s an increase Patricia Zloczweski, the store owner says has impacted her business.

“I mean I stay afloat, just barely," she said. "I’m like gasping for air, but people notice.”

Here in the unincorporated areas of Kern County, this increase has been in effect for almost a year now, but Zloczweski says she hasn’t seen the benefits.

“It’s not worth it. I think they should give us our money back that they took from us because we need it back to protect ourselves,” she tells me.

She says she’s seen crime in the area around her store drive customers away.

“People won’t come shop here because they come from other areas, and they think ‘Oildale, oh my gosh. The police don’t do nothing out there, and it’s bad,’ and it is,” she said.

According to the mid-year status report for activities funded by Measure K, businesses like Zloczweski’s along with industry fuel and service stations and building and construction produce 70% of the revenue with the rest generated by consumers.

The county has accumulated $39.8 million so far with an expected total of $57 million by the end of the 2023-24 fiscal year, which is 1% more than originally projected.

“Since implementation, we have addressed the priorities that the residents gave us, which included improving the quality of life,” Elsa Martinez, the Kern county interim Chief Administrative Officer said.

Most of the funding goes to law enforcement.

More than $5.8 million goes to maintaining vital local services like law enforcement, fire, and 911 response.

Almost $3 million went to recruiting and retaining sheriff’s deputies and firefighters.

“I think the community needs to know that we’re spending their dollars based on their priorities," Martinez said. "We are documenting that on our transparency portal.”

The Measure K Citizens Oversight Committee shows the additional funding has gone to these initiatives including economic growth, crime prevention, and emergency response among others.

Hiring delays for some of these initiatives resulted in budget savings, meaning the county will put that money towards one-time projects in the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

“They will listen to you if you come up with ideas, so I would say what an amazing opportunity if we know that there will be a surplus coming forward that groups come together with solutions and present them,” Ian Anderson, a political analyst said.

Zloczewski hopes to see a change in her area to keep her business from suffering.

“I never wanted to defund them [the sheriff's office]. Now that I’ve needed them and they haven’t shown up, I can see where people want to defund them because it’s not right for us to have to fend for ourselves.”

If you want to know if Measure K impacts you, you can check your address here, and if you want to learn more about where your tax dollars are going, you can find the links to the transparency page here.

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