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.