By Ed Martin, Editor

Lemoore’s elected officials, along with those in Kings County, Hanford, Corcoran and Avenal may be considering a new sales tax measure - or rather the continuation of an existing sales tax – to fund public safety. Lemoore councilmembers will discuss the proposed sales tax measure at its Tuesday council meeting.

What’s driving the countywide discussion is the expiration of statewide Proposition 30, a quarter-cent sales tax spearheaded by Gov. Brown in his first term. The revenue from Prop. 30 will sunset on December 31, 2016 and there is no indication that Brown or the state legislature will push to extend the tax.

Lemoore City Council Agenda and Reports

On that note, city and county officials, at their November City-County Coordinating Meeting, a regular meeting in which local officials from throughout Kings County gather to discuss county wide issues, presented attendees with a proposal to discuss a countywide public safety ballot initiative, the effect of which would be to distribute funds to all four Kings County cities, as well as the county.

At the conclusion of November’s presentation, there was general consensus that the police and fire chiefs, along with city managers, should discuss and prepare a proposal that the elected officials could preview and discuss.

Preliminary estimates indicate that Kings County would generate about $4 million annually, about the same that is now generated by Prop. 30 funds. The funds would be distributed by population with the county absorbing the county prison populations.

Lemoore’s preliminary share could be about $650,000 per year, all for public safety. Currently Lemoore is considering using any proposed funds to hire three additional sworn police officers and 10 fire volunteers. Remaining funds would be used for capital projects, equipment, and training.

The ballot measure would require the participation of all the cities and Kings County would have to vote to place the measure on the ballot for November.