Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy shared how some of the funds from Measure N, the city of Bakersfield’s one percent sales tax measure that passed by just 97 votes last November, will be spent.
The tax increase is estimated to bring in $50 million for the city, paving the way for 100 new Bakersfield Police officers and 20 new city firefighters over the next three years, according to Tandy.
“The voters approval of this measure will allow for some major improvements to be done to improve public safety,” Tandy said.
Tandy spoke about the city’s outdated radio system, noting the funds generated from the tax increase will help pay for a new radio system set to be used in the police and fire departments.
“It’s a technology that’s no longer supported by the vendor for parts and maintenance,” he said. “It’s analog. It’s absolutely essential for emergency personnel on safety that we convert that out to digital, which requires not just the radio systems, but the towers that transmit the signal.”
Tandy said the investment will cost roughly $17 million. Other investments, he continued, will include the hiring of new community relations officers, and will lead to improvements for decades-old police and fire buildings. Also in the works, according to Tandy, is a new housing for the homeless, but Tandy said it remains unclear how many will be built.
He believes these projects will lead to a better Bakersfield.
“It’s new money, a new plan. It will be a major positive in terms of the community and its assets.”
The money generated from the tax will not start to come in until April. Proposed spending from Measure N will need to be approved by an oversight committee made up of members of the public. Applications to join that committee will be released next week.