Measure E Oversight Committee
In November of 2007, the voters of Hollister passed Measure T which raised the city sales tax rate 1% for 5 years. The measure passed with 66.0% of the vote. Due to the national economic downturn that followed soon after, the City of Hollister was faced with a deepening budget crisis that required it to ask for a 5 year extension of the sales tax increase since Measure T was due to expire at the end of March in 2013. The language of Measure E, as it appeared on the November 2012 ballot was:
"Shall an ordinance be approved enacting a one percent (1%) sales tax for the purpose of funding general city service, such as police, fire safety, gang intervention and prevention, recreation programs, and street and parks maintenance...)."
Measure E was presented to voters as a way to maintain essential public safety services, such as police and fire, even though the City Attorney's Impartial Analysis stated the funds could be, "used by the City for any city operation or service." The Austerity Plan, proposed by the City should Measure E not pass, proposed deep cuts in these services. Measure E also contained language that would, "require annual review and public report on revenues and expenditures by an independent citizens' oversight committee." Measure E was approved with 57.8% of the vote.
The Measure E Oversight Committee meets regularly and the current members are
Mr. Robert E. Marden - Appointed by Mayor Ignacio Velazquez
Ms. Carol Lenoir - Appointed by Council Member Ray Friend
Mr. Rohit Sharma - Appointed by Council Member Robert Scattini
Mr. Doug Emerson - Appointed by Council Member Pauline Valdivia
Mr. John Chadwell - Appointed by Council Member Victor Gomez
Ms. Kris Nolan - Appointed by the Downtown Hollister Association
Ms. Frankie Gallagher - Appointed by the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Larry Barr - Appointed by the San Benito County Business Council
The committee believes that Measure E was marketed to the citizens of Hollister as the way to avoid deep cuts in critical public safety services, despite the fact that Measure E contains the short phrase "funding general city service." It is with this focus towards an emphasis of adequate funding of public safety, the oversight committee will carry out its function as it relates to Measure E to assure the City of Hollister is properly applying Measure E revenues and expenditures.