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KCSO, KCFD and DA will pitch initiative to help fund departments

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 20:50:58-04

Just a few weeks after making their pleas for why a five percent budget cut would hurt their departments, the Kern County Sheriff's Office, Kern County Fire Department and the District Attorney's office believe they have a solution to their problem. 

The public safety departments are set to pitch a half cent to one cent sales tax increase to the Board of Supervisors that would help them function without making cuts.

The sales tax would have a sunset clause, meaning it would be removed after a certain number of years. The belief is this initiative would have a four to five year window. 

The departments hope that the board will allow the proposal to be on the November ballot.

This initiative comes a month after a sales tax increase for funding county libraries was rejected by voters at the June elections.

Kern County Taxpayers Association believes the proposed sales tax increase would not solve the budget issues, instead insisting that the county must understand that the lower budgets are part of the "new normal".

"The county is going to have to learn to live with less money,:" said Michael Turnipseed, Executive Director of Kern County Taxpayers Association.

"That means they are going to have to be more prudent in how they use the money and those discussions really haven't taken place yet."

Turnipseed added that all departments always have areas of "fat" that can be cut from the budget, but KCFD Chief Brian Marshall says that his department is already very lean.

"We do have this economic crisis. We need to get through it and maintain essential social services so when people do dial 911, we are able to respond to their needs."