Exeter utilizes Measure P sales tax money for needed public safety improvements

Exeter’s 1% sales tax measure brings in a projected $1.7 million, the city expects to spend the money conservatively

EXETER – Exeter has been making good use of funds from the city’s first sales tax increase. 

Measure P, which increased sales tax within the city limits by one percent to 8.75%, passed in 2020. It was put in place mainly to provide additional funding for city services like public safety, street improvements, parks and building facility maintenance. 

“At this point in time, it’s looking like it’s going to be a real significant help in providing things for the community that we need to provide,” said city manager Adam Ennis. 

Over the last year, Measure P funds have been used to hire a Community Service Officer to oversee code enforcement services for the city, provide the officer with a patrol truck and promote two cops into sergeant and lieutenant positions. Measure P projects in the works include various facility repairs and renovations, street overlays and a fire engine replacement project that is expected to take eight years to complete.

Measure P revenues are currently much higher than anticipated, at a projected revenue of $1,690,000 for this fiscal year. City officials are recommending a conservative approach to spending due to the recent nature of the measure making future projections somewhat unreliable. Inflation rates are also expected to create the potential for city improvements to rise in cost. 

“I think everybody’s looking at this going, okay we hope it turns out the way that it’s looking like, but there are some potential variables that could change it,” Ennis said. “We’re still figuring out what the numbers will look like when the dust settles.” 

The total requested Measure P budget for the next fiscal year is $1,276,650. The city’s Measure P Citizens’ Oversight Committee held a meeting on March 31, in which they suggested additional community outreach for transparency’s sake. 

“It’s about informing the public about where their money is going,” Ennis said. He added that this will include signs near construction and roadwork projects indicating that the improvements are being funded by Measure P, as well as posts on the city’s Facebook page.

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