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Desert Hot Springs, CA

Desert Hot Springs To Make Budget Cuts If Tax Measure Fails To Pass

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Desert Hot Springs, CA -

The City Of Desert Hot Springs is slatted to make deep budget cuts if Measures B and C are not approved by city residents.

Signs in support of the measure are everywhere in Desert Hot Springs. And while it appears as though everyone is on board, that is not necessarily the case.

"I voted no," said Desert Hot Springs resident Russell Smith.

Some are skeptical about whether the funds will be spent on public safety as they have been advertised.

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"They're saying that most of it is supposed to go for that, but there's no guarantees, that I saw, that say it has to go for this and this and this," said Russell.

City officials insist the funds will go to public safety.

"These measures are specifically ear marked and designated for public safety. That means these funds can't be used for anything else in this community. They don't go to parks, they don't go to streets, they go to public safety," said Doria Wilms, public information officer for the city of Desert Hot Springs.

Both measures were first approved in 2009 and 2010. The taxes generate about five million dollars a year,  about a third of the city's revenue. 

"We have a  very,very busy Police Department and Fire Department. Our officers have taken a twenty-two percent pay decrease. And they have been functioning at lower staffing level over the last several years," said Wilms.

Voting no on Measures B and C would mean budget cuts. The police department would lay off 11 police officers. The city would close one of it's fire stations and programs like animal control, graffiti clean up and trash abatement would be lost.   

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"What we're asking voters to do is not initiate any new tax, it's truly extending what's currently in place," said Wilms.

Breanna Sewell is a Desert Hot Springs resident and business owner. She worries about the impact to residents of the city if the tax measures do not pass.

"The length of time for the police department to react to a crime is already to lengthy. And that length will just increase," said Sewell.

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