By Mario Conde
Calexico voters will decide on June 8th if they pass Measure H that would raise revenue for vital City services such as Police and Fire.
If Measure H passes, the special tax will raise revenue for various City services through the City’s General Fund, including fire protection and paramedics; police protection and crime prevention; street repair and maintenance; recreation programs; libraries; and parks by authorizing a sales tax of one-half of a cent within the City of Calexico. The sales tax is proposed as a general tax which means that it would be used to supplement the City’s General Fund from which various vital City services are funded. A citizen’s advisory board will be created to oversee and report to the City Council about the expenditures of the tax fund.
Calexico Fire Chief Pete Mercado said that this tax measure will allow the Fire Department to purchase equipment that can’t purchase right now with the General Fund obligations because it’s mostly used for salary and benefits and there is very little money left for purchasing equipment.
“We really need to use that money for fire engines, rescue equipments, fire hoes, protective equipment, those type of things that run out of over a few years, the life expectancy of these equipments doesn’t last all that much. We need Measure H to help us subsidy some of needed equipment and everyone shares the burden, not only the residents but people that come here in visit and purchase stuff here so, when they are in an accident, we help them get out of their cars with the jaws of life and all other stuff and that is what we are trying to do.” Chief Mercado said.
Calexico Police Chief Jim Neujahr said that after the earthquake sales tax and property taxes have shrunk drastically so in order to maintain the public safety services for the City and that is why, he said, they need Measure H.
“We won’t have officers, we won’t have cars, we won’t have the ability to provide the security we have so it’s important right now because as we are working on the budget the city is in real trouble as far as having enough money to provide for all the government services and the most expensive of those is police and fire. An so in order to maintain the services that we need for our community the only way we can do it is by passing Measure H.” Neujahr said.
Calexico Mayor David Ouzan encouraged the people of Calexico to support Measure H to continue with the services with the additional tax and to retain jobs on police and fire. He said that the additional revenue will also help other areas such as recreation and library but it will emphasize in public safety for the residents of Calexico.