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Two Supervisors Picked For Sales Tax Ad Hoc Committee

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors took some additional steps at today’s meeting toward putting a 1% sales tax increase on the upcoming November ballot.

The tentative plan would increase the current tax from 7.25% to 8.25% in the unincorporated areas (outside Sonora City limits). The supervisors selected board members Anaiah Kirk and Jaron Brandon to be on an ad hoc committee to help develop some of the remaining details, including the drafting of a ballot argument in favor.

Many of the supervisors stressed that one of the biggest needs is fire funding as some current federal grant dollars will go away in the coming years

Speaking in favor of the tax measure, Supervisor Brandon argued that denying the tax would have negative consequences, adding “When it puts people at risk, and when that puts the entire community at risk, to me, is not a wise investment. It only sounds good (not spending money), until the catastrophic happens. And then everyone says, ‘Why were you not there, why did this break down, why was the equipment so old, why were the stations in the wrong place, why didn’t you cover my community, and why didn’t you protect my family.’”

Indicating that it is a complicated issue, Supervisor Anaiah Kirk stressed, “I won’t support a tax that will go and make everyone’s wallet fat. I won’t support a tax that is going to build new buildings. I won’t support a tax that is going to make my wallet bigger.”

Kirk added, “I will support a tax, and I will stick around as a board member and run for a third term if it passes, specifically to say I’m going to see this money go towards a bucket of fire and towards a bucket of law enforcement, and as long as I’m on the board, that is where I’m going to see it through.”

There were some members of the public in opposition, raising concerns about a similar tax failing just under two years ago, and taxpayers already stressed thin due to inflation, and wanting the county to better trim its budget.

The board will conduct a first reading of the measure (to formally place it on the ballot) on July 9 and a second reading on July 23. There would be no limitations on how the money could be spent, but several board members indicated that public safety and fire would be there top priorities. It would require a simple majority to pass in November. It would expire after 20 years.

The board also gave majority direction to create a citizen committee that would provide oversight to keep an eye on where the potential new money is being spent.