City to hire more officers after measures pass

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Measure A will increase the sales tax in the city of Stockton by 3/4 of a cent. Measure B gave voters the chance to give opinion on what the Measure A tax money will be used for.

The passing of Measure B affirms the majority of voters would like 65 percent of the funds to go toward paying for law enforcement and crime prevention services.

The remaining 35 percent will refill the city’s general fund in an effort to end bankruptcy.

Only 28,312 registered voters participated in this election.

Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva posted on his official Facebook page that the “difference is 1,050 votes in a city of 300,000 people.”

“No matter how you voted on Measure A, I wanted you to be aware of how the ‘few’ can make significant change for the ‘many,’” said Silva on the page.

An analysis in the official ballot from City Attorney John Luebberke before the election said: “The proposed transactions and use (sales) tax is a general tax because the City can use the tax revenue for any legal municipal purpose.”

This means Stockton can use the funds for legal purposes, even though Measure B has passed. The city put Measure B on the ballot to get voter opinion on the issue.

Silva posted on his official Facebook page that he will make sure the city will respect the voter opinion voiced by the passing of Measure B.

“Now Stockton has the relief to exit Bankruptcy and hire more Police. I will ensure that the money is spent                      EXACTLY how it was promised,” he wrote.

The funds will begin coming in next summer.

“The City will not actually receive any money from the sales tax increase until approximately July 2014, which will provide a partial fiscal year of funding,” said Connie Cochran City of Stockton Public Information Officer during an e-mail interview.

Although the city hasn’t received any of the money from the sales tax increase yet, more police officers are being hired with plans for that to continue.

“The Police Department has been hiring new officers for several months in order to increase staffing and become eligible for a federal COPS grant. The sales tax increase will allow them to continue hiring. We hope to hire approximately 40 officers per year over a three-year period,” said Cochran.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant gives the city of Stockton the financial support to hire additional Police Officers.

The city has filed what is called a “plan of adjustment,” or plan to exit bankruptcy, with the bankruptcy court.
Stockton’s “plan of adjustment” is reliant on this tax raise.

“It includes agreements for adjusting our debt with the City’s largest creditors. We have reached tentative agreements with some creditors which required the passage of the sales tax increase,” said Cochran.