Elections in Imperial County and the rest of California are Tuesday, June 8th. In Calexico, one measure would increase sales tax, but supports the city's general fund and public safety.
Signs to support Measure H are plastered around Calexico. The measure proposes a half cent sales tax increase in the border town. The money would provide the city with $1.3 million a year to supplement the loss of sales tax revenue.
City Manager Victor Carrillo tells News 11 this is crucial because Calexico faces a $5.3 million budget shortfall due to a decline in sales tax revenue and the state budget.
If Measure H does not pass, the city would have to layoff employees and keep vacant positions unfilled. This could include public safety.
Captain Cedric Cesena with the Calexico Fire Department tells News 11 cuts would mean "less personnel on the floor that will be able to respond to emergencies."
35 percent of Calexico's budget goes to salaries and benefits, so layoffs will occur without Measure H. The city as a whole supports the Measure.
Carrillo says the City Council will try to avoid laying off fireighters, police officers and paramedics. However Cesena says firefighters fear the worst. He says they are most worried about the "losing the ambulance, because we don't have a hospital and we are the last line of defense."
The Measure would also support parks and help other city employees keep their jobs, so it is widely supported in the border town. However, some say they still cannot afford any increase in sales tax, no matter what the cause. Calexico resident Manuel Mauioral says the half cent sales tax increase "would kill us."
This is a general measure, not a special measure, so to pass it requires a majority vote plus one. If voted in, the half cent sales tax increase would last for 20 years.