Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee voted unanimously Aug. 29 in support of Measure O, the half-cent sales tax that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. The committee, however, made it clear that it wants the money to be spent on public safety and not siphoned off for other unrelated county services.
Measure O would replace Measure Z, which was approved by voters four years ago and expires on March 31, 2020. Measure O, like Measure Z, would generate $12 million a year to pay for deputies, deputy district attorneys, probation officers, firefighting equipment and other public-safety related expenses.
However, the language in Measure O was tweaked to allow the money to be spent for roads and “other essential services.”
McKMAC member Barbara Georgianna noted that the county has used Measure Z money for road improvements, with the county deeming the projects necessary for public safety. The language in Measure O, she said, just makes it clear that the money can be used for roads.
McKMAC member Greg Orsini said he wanted to make sure that supervisors understand that the committee supports the sales tax, but wants it used for public safety.
Measure Z has beefed up law enforcement throughout Humboldt County, including McKinleyville, Staffing has been increased at the McKinleyville Sheriff’s Station, allowing faster responses.
“The world has changed in four years, as far as law enforcement,” said McKMAC member Ben Shepherd. “I want you to imagine what it would be like in McKinleyville today without the extra deputies.”