We support Measure K, which will provide an estimated $4 million a year in funding for law enforcement and fire departments in Kings County. We support it not only because those funds can provide improved services but also because of the current leadership in most of our county’s public safety agencies.
Our police chiefs, fire chiefs and County Sherriff have not engaged in finger pointing or blaming when they have run up against funding challenges. Rather they have shown incredible resourcefulness in getting the most out of every dollar available to them.
Two quick examples:
• One of our local fire chiefs came up with an inexpensive solution for decreasing response time and getting fire fighters out the door and on their way to a fire minutes faster than the old system did. And when your house is on fire minutes are precious.
• One of our local police chiefs saw that his officers needed a large conference-type table to help them conduct their daily business more efficiently. He knew the expense was not in his budget so he built the table at home in his garage and delivered it to the station.
We need more personnel, updated equipment and in some cases additional facilities. Measure K would provide money for all of these needs. And Measure K funds can’t be used for anything BUT our public safety needs, period.
Measure K funds will come from a .25 percent sales tax. This tax will replace a .25 percent sales tax that will no longer be in effect as of December 31. We’ve been paying the tax for the last four years, and it has all gone to the State to supplement school funding. When money goes to the state we have no control over how it is actually spent. Measure K gives us local control.
So Measure K does not increase our total sales tax, which remains lower than surrounding towns, including Fresno, Visalia, Tulare and Selma. It keeps our sales tax at its current level and gives us more control over how the proceeds are spent.
Measure K deserves to be passed just based on the direct benefits it will provide to our community but there are a couple of other positive results to consider. First, a safe community is a community in which property values are more likely to go up. And second, as we learned just last week, an improvement in your local fire department’s effectiveness rating can reduce insurance rates.
Measure K may be the best deal we’ll see on the ballot for many years. Vote yes.