Measure N Citizens Oversight Committee holding meeting today to review proposed budget

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Measure N Citizens Oversight Committee is holding a meeting today to review the proposed Measure N budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

If approved, the proposed budget — estimated at roughly $78 million — will invest in the police department, city fire department, and capital improvement projects, according to the budge proposal released by the city. The funding also will go toward addressing homelessness.

To view the meeting, which starts at 11 a.m., click here.

In total, the proposed budget calls for 45 new positions at the Bakersfield Police Department, including nine officers, eight senior officers, six detectives, and five sergeants.

Also included: 30 new patrol vehicles, four police motorcycles, and one police service technician pickup truck.

“It will absolutely help address public safety,” said Bakersfield City Manger Christian Clegg. “What this staffing request represents is the last third of reaching the goal of hiring 100 new officers. It will go a really long way to being right sized, [and] able to address the needs of the community from a public safety perspective,” he continued.

The budget also calls for the hiring of 10 new employees in the Development Services Dept., four in the Economic and Recovery Dept., four in the Recreation and Parks Dept., two in the Public Works Dept., two in the city manager’s office, and one in the Human Resources Dept.

Funding also will go toward capital improvement projects, including landscaping enhancements along parts of Westside Parkway and State Route 58. Furthermore, the city will invest roughly $1 million into a study that will look into where additional street lighting is needed to improve safety in the public right of way.

Last week on Kern County in Depth with Jim Scott, community advocates called on city leaders to ensure the money is invested in economically challenged areas.

“You must be a leader for all people. Not just one or two groups,” said Arleana Waller, founder of the MLK CommUNITY Initiative.

Wesley Davis, Jr., founder of the Wendale Davis Foundation shared a similar sentiment.

“Too often, money is spent up high — way up high — And they never really make it down low,” he said.

But Clegg emphasized the city and its police department are committed to the community.

“A lot has been done, and we are going to continue down that path,” Clegg said. “For the last three years, the police department has been on a path to return to more of a community-oriented policing model. That means more patrol officers in neighborhoods, on the streets, out of their vehicles. The police department has been doing that work. We will continue doing that work.”

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