The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously to place a temporary revenue measure on the November 4, 2014 ballot to maintain and improve essential county services, including public safety. The Board’s action followed input from residents regarding the need for improved sheriff’s services and the results of a countywide community survey which showed residents strongly support additional funds for local county services.
“We know how important public safety and other county services are to local residents,” said 1st District Supervisor and Board Chair and Rex Bohn. “This measure will allow the County to maintain the services our community relies on.”
Unfortunately, due to budget constraints County services have experienced cutbacks. Even sheriff’s patrols have been greatly reduced, and now it can sometimes take several hours for a sheriff’s deputy to respond to a call.
“Many areas of Humboldt County are not patrolled by Sheriff’s deputies at night,” said Humboldt County Sheriff Michael T. Downey. “This measure provides the funds we need to expand patrols, maintain emergency 9-1-1 response times, and make sure calls about violent or property crimes are responded to promptly.”
Additionally, hard drugs and narcotics like meth are growing problems throughout the county.
“We need the funds necessary to fight drug-related crimes, eliminate meth labs, and provide drug prevention and rehabilitation services,” said Sheriff Downey.
Rising costs are also threatening probation services, including the supervision of individuals who are at risk to commit crimes.
“Probation knows who the most serious criminals are in our community, and we know what their likelihood is of re-offending,” said Chief Probation Officer Bill Damiano. “With this measure, we will be able to keep probation officers in the field to manage and intervene with these individuals. When successful, new crimes and new victims are avoided that would otherwise be certain to occur.”
If adopted by voters, the Humboldt County Public Safety/Essential Services Measure, a half-percent sales tax, provides funds to maintain and improve essential services, such as 24-hour sheriff’s patrols, 9-1-1 emergency response, crime investigation and prosecution, drug enforcement and prevention, services for abused children and the mentally ill, fire protection, road repairs, and other County services. If adopted, the revenue measure will, by law, expire in five years.
“This measure provides our area with a guaranteed source of local funding to maintain and improve public safety and local services,” said 2nd District Supervisor and Vice Chair of the Board Estelle Fennell. “Over the past 22 years, Sacramento has taken $286 million in revenue from Humboldt County’s budget. This measure ensures we have funding that can’t be taken by Sacramento.”
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