Guest Commentary: Antioch city manager offers reasons to support Measure W’s half-cent sales tax increase

By Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal

Antioch is the heart of Eastern Contra Costa County—and for two decades, it has been my privilege to serve the community as City Manager, Assistant City Manager, Public Works Director and City Engineer.

I have been committed to listening to the community and improving the services you expect and deserve. Investments in our community allow us to provide better services to what matters most to our residents. Last year’s quality of life community survey indicated that many shared concerns about crime, homelessness, blight and the local economy. Of highest importance to those surveyed were public safety, water quality, financial stability, gang prevention, and economic development.

With Election Day just two weeks away, it is important to be an informed voter. There are several items on your November ballot including local and statewide candidates, measures and propositions. On August 9, 2018, the Antioch City Council placed Measure W on the November 6, 2018, ballot. If approved, Measure W would continue to maintain Antioch’s public safety and other quality of life services.

There have been previous Antioch ballot measures that provided funds for maintaining police, emergency response, and code enforcement services. If approved, Measure W would extend an existing, voter-approved sales tax at a one-cent rate. The intention of the measure is to increase investment in code enforcement, clean up blight, make road repairs, support youth and senior services, and attract new business and jobs to Antioch. Food purchased as groceries, and prescription medications would continue to be exempt.

Some other community-identified priorities Measure W could address if approved, include:

  • continuing to maintain 911 police response and restore the number of police officers patrolling City streets;
  • ensuring water quality and safety;
  • maintaining Antioch’s quality of life and financial stability;
  • cleaning up illegal dumping; and
  • restoring after-school and summer programs for youth.

Measure W is intended to maintain public safety by funding police patrols, 911 emergency response, youth violence, and gang prevention, traffic enforcement patrols, and preparing public safety personnel for rapid, coordinated responses to natural disasters.

Measure W funds could only be used for by the City of Antioch. Measure W funds are protected by law from the state. No funds can be taken by Sacramento. Measure W requires guaranteed annual independent audits, citizens oversight committee and public reviews to ensure funds are spent properly.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. If you vote by mail, you should have received your vote by mail ballot already. If you have not yet received your ballot or to request one, visit Contra Costa County Elections at www.contracostacore.us. The last day to request a vote by mail ballot is October 30th. Vote by mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received no later than three days after Election Day. You can also drop off your ballot to any polling place in Contra Costa County on Election Day.

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