Measure O was passed by voters in 2010, the Supplemental Transaction and Use Tax has generated just under $4 million annually for the city of Eureka, and is expected to provide over $4 million in 2014— a critical lifeline for the city’s public safety and other programs.
So where has all that money gone? It was supposed to support the Police and Fire departments so they could keep up with the ever increasing demands for service. It’s hard to easily compare Eureka Fire Department 2010 with Humboldt Bay Fire 2014. A much easier comparison is EPD in 2010 and now. Fewer boots on the ground and pay cuts across the board. What? That’s right; EPD under Murl Harpham, shed officers and cut pay checks. In fact, EPD has only used 43% of their allotted budget for the fiscal year 2013-2014 due to the staffing shortages. The City Council will say that they raised EPD’s budget, but that was by adding additional police positions that couldn’t possibly be filled given the current shortages (Traffic Officer, POP Officer, etc.). But wait! We though Measure O had performed better than promised and brought nearly 4 million dollars! A closer look shows a great deal of the money promised to public safety has been siphoned off to feed the general fund and such none essential items like the Sequoia Zoo. Sounds like the old familiar ”Eureka shell game” we’ve seen before.
Jager, Brady and Newman all said in their 2010 campaigns the Use Tax was bad for business and was going to send business out of the city. Now they love it because it buffers them from having to make any really tough decisions with the budget.
Certainly the current Crime Wave effecting Eureka and its surrounding area wouldn’t be spinning out of control if the money had gone at the levels promised to the Police Department. Things wouldn’t have gotten this bad, even with Murl as the Chief, with a department up to force and competitively compensated.
Now they want you to renew it, after they promised to sunset it? We think that promise is as good as the “elect us and the Marina Center will be built without delay”.