Ukiah City Council Measure S Sales Tax

Ukiah offi­cials plan to ask vot­ers in Novem­ber to renew a half-cent sales tax they say is cru­cial to police and fire ser­vices. “I hope the com­mu­nity sup­ports it. I believe they will,” Mayor Phil Bald­win said dur­ing a Wednes­day meet­ing on the tax, which ran late into the night. But the coun­cil delayed for­mal­iz­ing the pro­posed bal­lot mea­sure at the con­clu­sion of the pub­lic hear­ing, dur­ing which con­cerns were raised about how police and fire ser­vices have been funded in the nine years since the tax was imple­mented. Mea­sure S is sched­uled to expire next year unless it is extended. City offi­cials will ask vot­ers to indef­i­nitely extend the tax, which has raised about $19 mil­lion so far for pub­lic safety ser­vices. Ukiah Police Chief Chris Dewey told the coun­cil the tax’s expi­ra­tion date has made it dif­fi­cult to recruit new offi­cers because they fear they will lose their jobs to bud­get cuts if the tax is allowed to lapse. The mea­sure would require just over 50 per­cent of the vote to pass because it does not require the money go to pub­lic safety. Man­dat­ing its use would require a two-thirds vote, which is more dif­fi­cult to obtain. The coun­cil will resume the bal­lot mea­sure dis­cus­sion in July.