Ed Thomas: Yes on Measure E for the future of Grass Valley
A recent article was published with an obvious bias to instill doubt in how Grass Valley’s new sales tax measure would be used and left the reader with the impression that maybe there was a lack of oversight on the existing Measure N.
As the chair of the existing Measure N Oversight Committee, I was disappointed to read something that was so biased and not rooted in facts.
Measure N was approved in 2012 and had three priorities that it funded — police, fire and streets. The police department was able to fund five new officers and replace numerous old vehicles and equipment. The fire department was able to fund five new fire personnel, replace vehicles and acquire two fire engines and equipment. Additional public safety assets have been acquired and put into use. The funding from Measure N was also used for the Brunswick, Sutton and Catherine Lane repaving projects.
Transparency has been paramount in the process. The Oversight Committee meets three times a year or on an as needed basis. We review the income generated and where the dollars are proposed to be spent and the actual expenditures. Members of the Measure N Oversight Committee are a diverse group of active and community involved and knowledgeable people who work in many ways for the wellbeing of our community. The meetings are announced in advance, open to the public, subject to the Brown Act and the committee has been educated in that regard. City Council has no influence over the proceedings of the Oversight Committee.
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Measure E funds will be used in the same manner for the items talked about in its proposal with a fourth funding priority, parks and recreation. It will still include police, fire, streets and sidewalks. Small rural communities like Grass Valley rely on sales taxes and frankly it is the only major way the city can generate revenue. Hopefully a majority of our citizens understand this and will vote Yes on Measure E as an investment in our community. The proceeds from Measure E will be used to improve public safety and infrastructure. It has a modest impact on most people and the additional $2.7 million in annual revenue it will raise for the City will have major positive impact on the future of Grass Valley.
There will be an Oversight Committee under the proposed ordinance appointed by each of the City Council members. Any citizen can apply for the position. As an advisory committee we review and discuss proposed expenditures in detail with department heads, the city manager and the director of finance. We trust that our City Council will follow through on the proposed uses of the proceeds from Measure E, just as they have with Measure N funds.
One of the purposes of Measure E is to make Measure N permanent. Measure N has a sunset clause and will terminate in five years if not extended by the passing of Measure E.
Just imagine what would be the result of terminating the five police officers and five fire personnel hired under Measure N and there were no funds for equipment needed.
We cannot let this happen.
I am going to vote yes on Measure E for the future of Grass Valley.
If you love your city, you will too.
Ed Thomas lives in Grass Valley.
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