Pasco would use a proposed criminal justice sales tax for gang suppression, a police station and new municipal court space.
In a 6-1 vote Monday evening, the Pasco City Council approved telling voters what it would use the tax if the measure passes. Franklin County commissioners previously had approved placing a tax increase on the Nov. 8 ballot to pay for an expanded jail that officials say is badly needed.
If the 30-year sales tax bump is approved, the county would receive 60 percent of the revenue, and the remaining 40 percent would be divided among Franklin County cities according to population.
Pasco would receive more than $1 million per year, enough to pay for a 20-year, $14 million bond that would include space for Pasco Municipal Court in the expanded jail project and a police station. Gang suppression and other public safety uses also were included in the city's list.
Councilman Al Yenney said adding gang suppression to the list was a good idea. The revenue could help the city with areas that currently are underfunded. One possibility would be improving the probation management of identified gang members, said City Manager Gary Crutchfield. That's something that was available at the county level about 10 years ago, but there no longer is any funding for that.
Extra revenue also could be used to add police officers or special assignments to prevent the expansion of gang activities in the community, he said.
Councilman Tom Larsen, who voted against the list, said he thought the police station was a monstrosity and one of the reasons the sales tax previously failed.
Councilwoman Rebecca Francik said the county has done due diligence by coming back with a reduced price for an expanded and remodeled jail, thanks in part to the current bidding climate.
The criminal justice sales tax proposal would add 3 cents to every $10 purchase. It wouldn't apply to the sale of motorized farm equipment or vehicles.
The council will hold a public hearing Aug. 15 to consider whether the city should ask voters to support the criminal justice sales tax measure.