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Measure S Session Slated In February

Escalon voters heading to the polls for the March 3, 2020 primary election will also have the chance to cast ballots on Measure S.

The measure is a special Police Services Tax, a half-cent sales tax that would have proceeds dedicated solely to the police department.

City council members agreed earlier this year to put the measure on the ballot and it has been given the designation as Measure S. An informational meeting about the measure has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Escalon Community Center.

Officials estimate Measure S, if approved, will generate about $280,000 annually to help supplement the police department budget.

Information is also going out to voters but officials wanted to host the information session in case there are any unanswered questions or concerns.

“The City Council has previously committed that Measure S revenues will not be used to replace current General Fund spending on the Police Department,” the city informational flyer indicates. “Measure S funds would be in addition to that commitment.”

It would also be dedicated specifically to the police department, not diverted to any other city uses. The money would be used for maintaining and enhancing staffing levels as well as funding police training, capital, equipment and operating budgets.

As an example, the half-cent sales tax would add an additional half-cent to the cost of $1 in taxable goods, a nickel more on a $10 taxable goods purchase and 50 cents more on a taxable goods purchase of $100. Officials also liked the idea of the sales tax so any taxable purchases made in the community – including by those just passing through on their way to Yosemite or the Bay area – would be contributing to the tax.

License plate readers, new radar systems, adding a code enforcement and a traffic enforcement officer are all goals for putting the sales tax revenue into action. But voters must approve it first.

The Feb. 13 session will include an outlining of the measure itself and information about where and how the projected funds will be used to benefit the department and, in turn, the citizens of the community.

The 2018-19 city budget included a 54 percent share of the total budget for Public Safety; the tax revenue would further enhance that spending.