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Board Of Supervisors Considers Tax Increase Measure

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Sonora, CA — County administrative staff will consider how to word a proposed ballot measure for the June 2006 election that would ask voters to approve a total half-cent sales tax increase to fund essential services.

In a study session yesterday, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors heard from fire and law enforcement officials about the growing concern over a lack of funding for those two agencies.

Assistant Fire Warden Mike Noonan told the panel that the outlook for his department isn´t good. He said volunteer staff reductions at the Chinese Camp, Moccasin , Smith Station and Sonora facilities have him “disturbed.”

Noonan also expressed concern that the end of fire season will bring the closure of the Groveland and Green Springs stations . He added that he was “nervous” about the safety of CDF medical personnel responding to remote highway crashes in the winter time.

Undersheriff Lee Sanford also addressed the board saying that the situation at the Sheriff´s department is identical to that of the fire agencies.

The proposed ballot measure would seek approval for a one-quarter cent sales tax increase to fund fire services and a separate quarter-cent increase for the Sheriff´s Department.

The measure will be subject to board approval before being placed before the voters.

In a related action, the supervisors moved to contract the William Berry Group for assistance in informing and educating the public about the proposed measure.

The board will re-address the matter at a future meeting.