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City departments to receive more money thanks to Measure N tax

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 21:48:53-04

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — City departments are expected to get more money than they first thought, thanks to Measure N.

The city of Bakersfield says they are in a better financial position this year, than in nearly the last three decades after voters approved an increase to the city's sales tax.

According to the budget adjustment report released by city officials, they are expecting the city budget to be in a much better position than it was last year.

Outgoing City Manager Alan Tandy says the extra revenue will go to help departments within the city that are hurting for cash.

Due to Measure N, which was a one-cent sales tax passed last year, city officials say it has produced a much larger cash flow than the city expected.

Tandy says that nearly $11 million is being proposed to be added to the city’s budget. It’s all thanks to Measure N, a one-cent sales tax that was passed by voters in November.

“This is extremely unusual this level of positive cash flow hasn't occurred to us since the 27 years that I have been city manager, it is unique and different,” Tandy said.

In a new detailed report, city officials reviewed the sales tax information and discovered that sales tax revenue projections for the current year and next year is higher than anticipated.

“It's nice to have this happened, the margin of the vote was 97 and that the economy seems to have picked up as well,” Tandy said.

The first quarter 2019 sales tax revenues showed a 14.5 percent growth compared to the same quarter last year.

Now the city is looking to pour another $1 million into the Bakersfield Police department’s budget, in addition to the 100 officers that were already planned.

“In order to add this we need a larger training facility and thats why we are rehabilitating the facility on California Avenue,” Tandy said.

Tandy adds that a great deal is being done to enhance police services, which is seven out of the 13 focused priorities in Measure N.

“We are going to get all the officers body cameras, we been running test and we found that this is to protect officers,” Tandy said.

The city manager is proposing $7.5 million in budget adjustments for the upcoming Fiscal year.

Other entities are also expected to get more this upcoming year, such as the Downtown Corridor Project and the Bakersfield Museum of Art Fund.

“It is giving us a chance to address a lot of necessary needs that we have been referring to for a longtime so that’s a positive,” Tandy said.

An additional meeting of the Citizens Oversight Committee is scheduled for Wednesday at City Hall to further discuss the proposal.