Lemoore gets to work on drafting a public safety tax for November

Voters in Lemoore will have an opportunity to decide in the November 2020 election if the sales tax should be raised. 

Last week, Lemoore City Council members ordered the city attorney to draft the ballot measure that would create a special 1% sales tax initiative. 

The money would be dedicated toward public safety expenses, and the tax would expire after seven years. Lemoore is looking for a way to increase revenues to cover the increased costs of providing city services. 

“To keep from becoming insolvent and not being able to pay our bills, it’s best that we come up with options to come up with revenue,” Mayor Pro Tem John Plourde said during the meeting, according to the Hanford Sentinel. 

The tax increase could generate around $1.8 million annually for Lemoore and would require a two-thirds majority vote to pass. Currently, the city’s tax rate sits at 7.25%. 

During the council meeting, several individuals from the community spoke in support of and against the tax raise. 

According to The Hanford Sentinel, Lemoore Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy Ward said that it should not be the responsibility of the community to pay for the city’s previous poor financial choices. 

“While our entire community struggles with the long-term devastating impact of this pandemic, we have the audacity to ask for more,” Ward said. 

The individuals who spoke out in support of the increase said that the city should be transparent with the voters and detail where the money will be spent. 

Lemoore City Council will review the official language of the initiative at its next meeting on July 7.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.