Oakland to vote on parcel tax measure

July 16, 2008 12:50:24 PM PDT
The Oakland City Council has voted 6-2 to place on the November ballot a proposed parcel tax to pay for hiring 105 new police officers and 75 additional police service technicians over the next three years.

Mayor Ron Dellums, who normally doesn't attend the City Council's meetings, went to its meeting Tuesday night to urge it to put the measure on the ballot.

Dellums said, "We've heard the requests and the urgency" from the community about hiring more police officers.

City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente and Councilwoman Desley Brooks voted against putting the measure on the ballot.

The measure will need to win a two-thirds majority in November in order to be approved. Dellums said Tuesday that polls he's seen indicate that just over two-thirds of Oakland residents will support the parcel tax.

Oakland currently has 748 police officers, and Dellums plans to increase that number to 803 by the end of the year.

But even 803 officers would be a smaller ratio of officers to citizens than that of most cities, and the Alameda County Grand Jury last week called for Oakland to strive for a total of 1,200 officers.

The tax, if approved, would be $107 for a single-family residential property the first year, $177 the second year and $267 a year in the third and fourth years.

Dellums told reporters Tuesday that those sums are "not a tremendous amount of money."

The measure would raise nearly $16 million the first year, about $26 million the second year and about $40 million the third and fourth years.

The measure calls for hiring an additional 35 police officers and 25 police services technicians for each of the next three years.

Dellums said the measure would only be in place for four years.


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