As chairman of the citizens advisory committee, which recommended that the Benton County commissioners approve a ballot measure to increase the sales tax rate by 0.3 percent to fund criminal justice needs, I'm gratified that the commissioners decided to act on the committee's recommendation. The committee did a thorough investigation of the current needs and available funding and unanimously concluded additional funds from a 0.3 percent sales tax increase was necessary.
The advisory committee was instructed to conduct its business without undue consideration of whether or not any recommendation would be approved by the voters. The instructions also said the committee would be independent of the desires of people who work in the criminal justice system. In other words, the committee was to function as a independent advisor to the commissioners, and that was the way the committee came to conclusions and made a recommendation.
I hope the voters will study the ballot measure and come to their own conclusion about the necessity of additional funds for community safety and quality of life. The need is real and the success of the committee's recommendation is now in the hands of the voters.
RICHARD NORDGREN, Richland