SHELTON — The city council will consider adopting a resolution in support of a public safety sales and use tax proposal on the primary ballot.
If approved by Mason County voters on Aug. 6, the sales tax would increase to three-tenths of 1 percent.
The resolution is on the council's business meeting agenda at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the civic center, 525 W. Cota St.
Because Shelton residents approved a ballot measure in 2011 to collect a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax dedicated to public safety, approval of the ballot proposition would raise the tax by two-tenths of a percentage to three-tenths of 1 percent within Shelton city limits.
The proposition, which the Mason County commissioners placed on the ballot, would authorize the county to implement a countywide three-tenths of 1 percent sales and use tax, if voters approve. It would split revenues between the county and the City of Shelton, which would receive 40 percent of that generated.
It would increase the city’s annual revenue dedicated to public safety by about $830,000, officials said.
It is anticipated that the new funds would be used for two additional police officer positions, to purchase new law enforcement vehicles and specialized public safety equipment, and two social worker positions focused on addressing local homelessness. The city council has earmarked homelessness in Shelton as one of its highest priorities.
The additional funding would also enable the city to contract with other nearby jail facilities to house inmates.
“Mason County voters, including Shelton residents, have an important decision to make,” Shelton City Manager Jeff Niten said in a statement released Monday. “We are constantly working to increase efficiencies and provide exceptional levels of service with the limited funds that are available. Our public safety officers do an excellent job utilizing all available resources, including a variety of state and federally funded grant programs. However, growing public safety needs are a necessary consideration. This funding would provide dedicated funds for public safety needs now and in the future. Additionally, the city would not need to rely as heavily on the general fund to support our police officers.”
Criminal justice and law enforcement efforts in Mason County require a close partnership between the City of Shelton and the county, according to Niten.
By 2036, new residents moving to the area are expected to bring the City of Shelton’s population to 23,416. The city's population at the 2010 census was a little more than 10,000.
Population increases require increased public safety measures to meet desired levels of service, Niten siad. Public safety is one of the primary responsibilities of local government, he said.
Additional funding for criminal justice purposes will permit the expansion of public safety service throughout Mason County, according to Niten.