Citizens of Modesto have expressed plenty of reasons to vote against Measure X in the November election. However, the city very much needs the revenue of a sales tax increase.
Over the past decade, the number of city employees and level of city services have declined substantially.
With police department staffing at a historic low for officers per capita, the department is no longer able to effectively fight crime. Response times are inadequate to catch criminals in the act on a regular basis. Calls for service are answered only if the severity meets certain parameters.
Street sweeping has been reduced to once every 4-6 weeks, making a large part of the city look junky, especially in residential areas.
The list of inadequacies in maintenance is endless.
Measure X, the sales tax increase, will enable the city to restore city services to levels previously provided and help reduce levels of debt incurred in recent years.
One hundred percent of the tax collected will stay in the community. Of all the different taxes citizens pay, this tax will deliver the most benefit to the community.
If the tax goes down to defeat, the message to the City Council will be that the citizens do not trust their elected representatives. This would be a shame because if the tax fails, service will continue to degrade and the quality of life will continue to deteriorate, regardless of who is in office. Eventually, Modesto will be unlivable.
In the past decade, Modesto’s population has not increased more than a few percent. In previous decades, the population grew much more rapidly. This reflects the decline in the quality of life, making Modesto less attractive to potential residents. Meanwhile, other cities in Stanislaus County have grown much more rapidly in the past decade.
Modestans have a choice about the future of their community. While Measure X most likely will be defeated, there is always a possibility that the collective wisdom will emerge and pass it.