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City: Measure X revenue outlook strong

With higher city expenses expected primarily due to the new Police Department, Measure X revenues are looking strong, a city panel reported last week.

A presentation to the Sales Tax Oversight Committee April 23 shed light on Measure X, a local sales tax initiative crucial for the city's finances and safety. Led by Finance Director Isarel Perez-Hernandez, the session provided a comprehensive update on the Measure X sales tax, laying out a roadmap for the city's fiscal health and public welfare.

Perez-Hernandez shared that the projected revenue for 2023-2024 looks strong at $3.1 million.

The measure began after Wasco's citizens approved it in November 2016, and it became effective in April 2017. Since then, it's been a game-changer for the city's income, starting from $2.1 million in 2017-18 and peaking at $3.3 million in 2021-22.

Looking ahead, Perez-Hernandez pointed out that expenses for the next fiscal year will be higher, mainly due to starting up a new Police Department. City Manager Scott Hurlbert emphasized that Measure X money mostly goes into police and public safety.

But Measure X isn't just about police. It also supports sheriff and fire contracts, neighborhood security cameras and upgrading the old courthouse for emergencies.

Moreover, Measure X funds are dedicated to fixing roads, upgrading streetlights and making sidewalks more accessible for everyone. "This shows Wasco's commitment to making the city safer and easier to get around," Perez-Hernandez said.

Measure X benefits parks and animal welfare, in addition to safety and infrastructure. Funds will be used to improve parks, build better dog parks and construct a new animal shelter.

At the end of the meeting, the committee approved the audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024, showing confidence in how the city handles its finances.

"With Measure X, Wasco is not only ensuring its financial stability but also investing in the safety and well-being of its residents, making it a win-win for everyone in the community," Perez-Hernandez said.

City Manager Scott Hurlbert added, "Measure X is an important component of the city budget. The funds available through Measure X were critical in the police department start-up effort."

Sales Tax Oversight Committee Chairperson Flor Olvera said of the presentation, "The city staff is doing a good job of outlining everything for us as committee members, and I think the city council is doing its due diligence in the appropriation of those funds. It's also nice to see a big chunk going to the Wasco Police Department."


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