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May 25, 2022

Didn’t Measure T promise to save programs like 4-H?

In 1993, San Benito County faced a fiscal crisis and major
budget cut decisions.
In 1993, San Benito County faced a fiscal crisis and major budget cut decisions. At that time, UC Cooperative Extensions office was schedule to close. The Board of Supervisors, on a 4-1 vote, passed an ordinance to propose a half-cent sales tax for four years on November ballot.

Represented to the county voters, Measure T, was proposed to raise $1 million in general monies per each of the four years to fund “local programs that we would all like to see continue, such as police , fire, library and parks”, according to then County Administrative Officer David Edge in his written “Argument in Favor of Sales Tax” in August 1993.

Specific programs could not be named by title as to remain in compliance with Jarvis-Gann legislation. Former Supervisor Rita Bowling gave a resounding, “Yes!” when asked if UCCE was an intended program to be benefited by Measure T.

In November 1993, Measure T passed by 17 votes and the UCCE office remained open. Through fiscally conservative management, the Measure T fund today has over $5 million held in general fund reserve as the revenue from the tax was not spent to the anticipated level partially due to upturn in economic cycle.

Clearly, reserved funds are not intended to cover ongoing cost (salaries and raises, for example) but are best used for one-time expenditures. Could this fund be tapped to keep programs viable until other revenue sources can be identified or upswing in the economic cycle occurs? How do we now cut these same programs proposed to be saved by Measure T when over $5 million in Measure T monies still exist?

Lisa Tobias,

Tres Pinos

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