Crime statistics continue to rise, but law enforcement faces dwindling budgets with which to provide public safety. Chief of Police Reuben Shortnacy hopes the passage of Measure K will help combat crime in Corcoran.
Proponents note that Measure K will only go into effect if the state’s current quarter-cent sales tax is not extended. The state sales tax is due to expire at the end of December, 2016. If approved by a two-thirds vote of county residents, Measure K will go into effect Jan. 1. 2017.
The initiative will cost approximately $26 per person a year, based on a population of 150,000; the amount is actually reduced by the spending of non-resident travelers. The sales tax equates to 25 cents for every $100 spent.
The money received from the additional sales tax revenues will be 100 percent dedicated to public safety. Approximately $4 million a year is expected to be generated.
All cities in the county had to agree to participate, as did the County of Kings. The money will be distributed based on population, with the Corcoran Police Department expecting a yield of about $335,000 a year. With its larger population, Hanford should net about $1.5 million a year and the Kings County Sheriff’s Department can expect about $1.25 million a year.
Here’s how those jurisdictions plan to spend the additional income:
–County sheriff, staffing for patrol and the county jail;
–County fire, additional staffing for single-staff stations;
–Hanford PD, police and fire facilities and staffing;
–Corcoran, staffing, facilities and equipment;
–Lemoore, police and fire facilities and staffing; and
–Avenal, staffing, facilities and equipment.
A countywide committee has been formed to ensure all monies are properly controlled and spent. The oversight committee meetings will be open to the public and the group will require an annual audit, will make recommendations and will report it findings.
Shortnacy said that county law enforcement leaders are adamant that funds from Measure K will supplement existing law enforcement and public safety funds, not replace them.
“That is the first priority and that is my promise to local residents,” he said. “These monies have to go towards improving public safety.”