Santa Cruz County

Watsonville police hopeful sales tax measure will pass

Numbers are close, the measure sits at two-thirds majority vote

Watsonville public safety tax to help fire, and police

WATSONVILLE, Calif. -- - Second Street Café owner Mackenzie Fullmer said she depends on the Watsonville Police Department to keep her business safe.

"We have called them several times for help," said Fullmer.

Fullmer said the community will benefit from Measure G.

"We definitely need more police, more fire department. Like I said just yesterday we had a lockdown for shots fired a block away so an increase of police presence would be helpful in the community," said Fullmer.

The numbers are close; as of last check Measure G is passing with 66.91 percent. Measure G is a half-cent public safety tax so it will help fund both the Watsonville Police and Fire Departments.

The measure would increase sales tax to 9 percent in the city. There are still 10,000 ballots to count in Santa Cruz County. If it passes, the measure would increase the city's sales tax by half cent. The added revenue would go toward adding more officers and purchasing new equipment for the Fire Department

"It was exciting. We were all together seeing the votes come in," said Sgt. Saul Gonzalez, Watsonville police.

Gonzalez said the department knew they had support but getting a two-thirds majority was a challenge.

"It speaks incredible volumes, I think people have a misconception of Watsonville. Watsonville very much supports the Police Department, its Fire Department, its public safety aspect and yesterday's vote is a testament to that," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said an even bigger challenge was getting the community to support paying more taxes. Fullmer said customers may not favor that.

"They might not be used to and not be comfortable paying for," said Fullmer.

Gonzalez said the increase would fund 10 new officers. Fullmer said for that she can look past the tax hike.

"As this community grows we are definitely in need of increase police protection and fire," said Fullmer.

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