The funds from Measure N, the one-cent sales tax increase for the city of Bakersfield, will now be overseen by a citizens’ committee.
Measure N passed by the skin of its teeth in November by a margin of just 97 votes.
The purpose of the measure is to provide about $50 million annually to improve the city’s public safety. The top priorities include bolstering law enforcement and reducing homelessness.
“Not often does a community vote to raise their taxes,” said Ward 6 Councilmember Jacquie Sullivan. “And now it’s up to us to spend the money very wisely, which we certainly intend to do.”
Therefore, City Council members unanimously approved the creation of a committee to ensure the city spends tax dollars the way they said they would.
“One of the most exciting things about this is the community working together to solve our problems,” said Ward 4 Councilmember Bob Smith.
This committee will be composed of nine Bakersfield citizens who have no position in government.
Andrae Gonzales, Ward 2 Councilmember, explained, “(they will) give us input and work with the council to ensure that we do what we said we’re going to do–enhance city services.”
Each committee member will be nominated from various local organizations, like the Kern Taxpayers Association and the Chamber of Commerce.
Bakersfield city manager Alan Tandy added, “we expect a big number of candidates to come forward–don’t know how many, but I expect it’ll be a batch.”
You can download an application for the committee at this link, or you can contact the City Clerk’s office at 326-3767. The deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 25.
City Council will vote on the nine members at their next meeting on Feb. 6.