Brawley has much hanging in the balance with Measure W: the Utility User Tax. No one likes a tax, but if this one is not extended, Brawley will have to live with a new reality come July 2018 because City services will change – whether we like it or not.
The tax has been in place since 1991. Brawley’s Utility User Tax is applied to water, sewer, trash, electricity, gas and cable television. The average Brawley household pays $15.50 per month in Utility User Tax which is set at 4%.
Although there are fewer staff in place than there were five years ago, Brawley has kept its service levels as high as it has because the Utility User Tax represents $1.9 million dollars and 13% of the General Fund. These revenues affect how all of us residents live and experience the quality of life that we have come to expect.
The service level changes ahead are extreme and severe. More than 20 full time positions supported by the Utility User Tax will be eliminated if Measure W fails. The staffing changes will directly translate to service level reductions.
Brawley’s Senior Center, Teen Center and Del Rio Library Branch will close. Fire Station No. 2 will also shut its doors because reductions in fire personnel will only allow for one station to operate. Six fewer Police Officers and 6 fewer Firefighters will be on staff to protect and serve the people of Brawley. If Measure W fails, City fees will increase to address the full costs of delivering of services that are provided.
These are unacceptable changes in my book. Public safety has always been a first priority in Brawley. And, accessibility to year round public facilities, sports leagues and activities is a hallmark feature of what sets us a part as a community.
Measure W is not a new tax. It is an extension of what we already pay. A Yes on Measure W is a Yes to Public Safety, Yes to Parks & Recreation, and Yes to the Library.
Vote Yes on Measure W on November 7th.