Measure N Oversight Committee recommends majority of $78 million proposed budget, takes issue with freeway landscaping proposal

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Members of the Measure N Citizens’ Oversight Committee on Monday recommended that Bakersfield City Council approve most of the proposed Budget for Measure N for the upcoming fiscal year.

If approved, the proposed budget – estimated at around $ 78 million – will be invested in police, city fire and capital improvement projects, as per the budget proposal published by the city. The funds will also be used to fight homelessness.

The proposed budget is funded by the Measure N one-cent sales tax passed by Bakersfield voters in 2018 and includes $ 10 million for additional police positions, including nine new police officers, eight senior police officers, six detectives and five sergeants.

Also includes: 30 new patrol vehicles, four police motorcycles and a pickup truck for police technicians.

$ 7 million will go towards economic improvement, including $ 3 million for revitalization projects. An additional $ 265,000 will be allocated to the Brundage Lane Navigation Center to provide access and space for pets.

“We filled our pet room very quickly, so we’re working with local authorities to bring veterinary services to this facility,” said Jacqui Kitchen, Bakersfield’s assistant city manager, noting that the move has helped fund 320 affordable housing units since 2018 Has.

The proposed budget also includes 10 new employees for the Urban Development Services department and $ 5.2 million for local parks. Of the funds mentioned, $ 500,000 will be used to identify needs at MLK Park and the Silver Creek Community Center.

The committee approved most of the proposed budget but did not recommend the public works portion of the budget that devotes more than US $ 6 million to local freeway landscaping.

Instead, some committee members, including Mitchell Rowland, called for these funds to be used elsewhere.

“We just didn’t feel that $ 6 million of citizens’ money was what they wanted when they passed Measure N,” he said, previously noting that he was “an improvement on Chester Avenue, a replacement for the bollard bollard in.” Mill Creek and sidewalks improvement. And zebra crossings improved. These are great projects, “he continued.

Committee member Frederick Prince also said it was important that underserved communities are not forgotten.

“We now have the resources to make sure that things are allocated to different parts of our community. So I want to make sure that certain parts of our community get an equal share,” he said. “I think that’s important.”

City administrator Christian Clegg said the city is committed to all parishes, adding that the city will “take some follow-up action”.

The committee members made it clear that they supported the majority of the proposed budget. Some were impressed with the thorough presentations made by the city staff during the meeting.

The proposed budget now goes to Bakersfield City Council, where councilors officially approve or reject it.

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