ORANGE COVE – The city of Orange Cove has completed its first step in keeping its Measure O fund up and running now that the measure is making its way to the ballot following approval from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.
At its Sept. 19 meeting, the board of supervisors voted in favor of adopting a resolution for the city’s Measure O, a special parcel tax that funds the city’s police and fire protection services.
With the approval, Orange Cove is holding a special municipal election on Nov. 7 to place on the ballot a measure that, if approved by the voters in November, will continue its Measure O. The fund currently generates close to $264,000 in property taxes to help fund the city’s fire and police departments.
“I saw the opportunity and I took it,” Orange Cove City Manager Daniel Parra said, regarding the measure and the opportune timing of the upcoming Consolidated Uniform District Election on Nov. 7.
The Orange Cove City Council approved the resolution at its July 5 meeting. Come Nov. 7, Orange Cove residents will vote on Ordinance 395. If approved, the ordinance will continue Measure O, which is set to expire Nov. 30, 2024. And waiting can be costly.
“You have to get it re-approved before (it expires),” Parra said. “If we wait until next November, then they wait until the next tax roll to start it again, and you lose half a year.”
Measure O, which has been in existence for nine years, augments the city’s budget for police and fire. Eighty percent of Measure O taxes fund the police department, with the remaining 20% funding the fire department.
Under the measure, single family homes will be taxed $95 annually; multi-family residential units will be taxed $65. Agricultural parcels will be taxed $95, commercial parcels will be taxed $495, and industrial parcels will be taxed $750. All taxes are annual.
Parra said if the board did not approve the resolution, his contingency plan was to try to get the resolution on the March 5, 2024 primary election ballot. This is also his contingency plan should Orange Cove voters decide not to approve the measure in November.
“I’m going to keep going and going. That’s a quarter of a million a year,” he said. “That’s two police officers, and vehicle and or equipment a year I would have to take out of my budget.”
Parra said the police budget is about $2 million.