Measure K has been revived and will be looking for support in November. The initiative calls for and additional quarter-cent sales tax which will be used for public safety.
The measure first appeared on the primary ballot in June, failing by less than 100 votes countywide. This time around, proponents have promised to aggressively support the additional sales tax proposal.
The measure will maintain the Kings County sales tax at 7.5 percent, with 100 percent of the increase remaining in the county. The sales tax in the county currently stands at 7.5 percent, but a quarter-cent sales tax imposed by the state is slated to expire as of Dec. 31, 2016. The initiative would mean the tax would remain in place, going into effect in April of next year.
The measure requires two-thirds’ voter approval.
All four cities have signed on to re-ignite the initiative, with city councils from Corcoran, Hanford, Lemoore and Avenal approving participation. Kings County will benefit from the measure, as will the Kings County Sheriff’s Department.
Countywide, the measure is expected to raise about $4 million annually. That will be divided, approximately, as follows:
–Kings County fire and the sheriff’s department, $1.25 million;
–City of Hanford police and fire, $1.5 million;
–City of Corcoran police department, $335,000;
–Lemoore police and fire, $675,000; and
–City of Avenal police department, $240,000.
The money can only be used for public safety. The Corcoran Police Department will use the funding for staffing, training, facilities and equipment.
Currently the quarter-cent sales tax costs each county resident about $26 a year. That figure is expected to hold, based on a county population of 150,000. The amount is reduced by spending of non-residents traveling through the area. The tax equates to about a quarter (25 cents) for every $100 spent and all persons who spend in Kings County will pay the tax. This includes those spending at the new Costco complex in Hanford and drivers along the I-5 corridor who stop and spend in Kettleman City.
Corcoran failed to gain the 66 perent margin required in the June election, but not by much. The voters in the city approved Measure K by 65 percent. The same was true in Avenal, while both Hanford and Lemoore met the two-thirds majority. Residents of the county rural area voted in favor of Measure K by 61 percent.
The countywide committee coordinating the Measure K drive meets In Lemoore and is known as the Kings County Citizens for Safe Neighborhoods. Local residents who would like to donate to the campaign effort can contact Chief of Police Reuben Shortnacy in Corcoran or can mail donations to KCCSN, P.O. Box 164, Hanford, CA 93232.