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Sales tax money to go to Sacramento City police, fire, parks

8:20 AM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO- Sacramento's police and city fire departments could be getting some much needed relief from budget cuts, thanks to sales tax money from Measure U.

The city council will be reviewing where that money could be going after the the city manager presents his recommendations Tuesday night.

Measure U was approved by Sacramento city voters last November.

The temporary half-cent sales tax increase is expected to pour $5 million into the city before the end of this fiscal year. Of that money, the city manager recommends $1.5 million should go to Sacramento police.

The Sacramento police officer's union says the money would let the department hire more officers. 

Dustin Smith, the president of union, said, "Our hopes is to get up to 65 officers up and running through the academy process so they'll be ready to hit the streets some time in December."

Meanwhile , the Sacramento City Fire Department was supposed to see a fourth brownout starting last month. But, the city manager recommends that Measure U tax funds be used to help defer another brownout. 

"Currently, every day there are three fire companies in Sacramento that are closed. This money is designed to bring those back," said Ryan Henry, vice president of the local firefighters union. 

Other Measure U funding recommendations include allocating a quarter-million dollars to the Parks and Recreation Department so six swimming pools and five wading pools could operate through summer.

Measure U goes into effect April 1. The temporary sales tax measure is expected to generate $28 million a year.

In response to expected revenues, councilman Steve Cohn said, "Certainly, we'll use a lionshare of Measure U to restore police and fire services. We cut back so much five years ago. We're not going back to those levels. But, we'll be able to restore some of that and we're excited."

Councilman Steve Hansen said Measure U funds are restoring services -- exactly what voters said they want.

"(We're) getting the money to the streets sooner and at the same time, we're trying to be very smart about how we use these funds since they are temporary," Hansen said.

By Suzanne Phan, sphan@news10.net

Twitter:@suzannephan

News10/KXTV

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