Measure Z funds firefighting, crime prevention

Daniel Mintz
Mad River Union

HUMBOLDT – ​Humboldt County’s Measure Z funding priorities have been chosen, with firefighting services getting the largest share at $1.9 million.

​The county’s Board of Supervisors signed off on Measure Z funding projects at its April 20 meeting.

​Measure Z public safety sales tax revenue for the coming fiscal year amounts to $12.5 million. 

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Much of it will be spent to support previously-allocated staffing positions in key public safety agencies.

​There’s a $4.5 million balance available for additional funding. The Humboldt County Fire Chiefs Association’s share is the largest but Glenn Ziemer, the chair of the Measure Z Advisory Committee, said it’s a $600,000 reduction from what was asked for.

He added that although the recommendation process structure didn’t change, there was less public input due to COVID-19-style videoconference deliberations.  

Among the items forwarded for supervisors’ approval is about $300,000 for continued funding of the Arcata Police Department’s school resource officer and two juvenile diversion officers.

​The youth-focused officers work the Arcata/McKinleyville area and the funding application states that the Measure Z contribution allows probes of “critical incidents such as rape and violent crimes” and drug and alcohol counseling.  

Other funding items in the recommended Measure Z roster include $500,000 for the Sheriff’s Office’s emergency radio upgrade project and $150,000 for two emergency communications dispatchers.

​The recommendations also include Eureka-based Mobile Intervention Services Team homeless outreach, The K’ima:w Medical Center’s ambulance service in the county’s eastern area, cleaning up illegal dumping and school resource officers in the Arcata and Fortuna areas.

​Another priority funding project is $125,000 for repaving 10 miles of county roads.

​Asked why there isn’t more roads funding, Ziemer said the need dwarfs Measure Z’s funding power and roads funding continues to be available from a larger source established through the state’s SB 1 roads improvement bill.  

​County Sheriff Billy Honsal emphasized that the advisory committee recommends projects aligned with Measure Z’s public safety intent and the funding is used to expand services.

​Supervisor Steve Madrone noted that despite the pandemic, 2020’s $12.5 million in Measure Z sales tax revenue represents an increase from the $10 million collected the previous year.

​Supervisors unanimously voted to have staff work the committee’s recommendations into the coming fiscal year’s budget.

​An $80,000 request for a Trinidad and Blue Lake area sheriff’s deputy wasn’t among the recommended items. Honsal said he doesn’t have the staffing to fill the slot.


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