Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, July 26 @ 4:34 p.m.
Del Norte Supes Certify Re-written Measure R Repeal Initiative
Four Del Norte County supervisors on Tuesday agreed to let a re-written initiative to repeal Measure R appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.
This decision comes about three months after county officials gave a report with the running theme that repealing the 1 percent sales tax measure would hurt recruitment and retention of county staff. On Tuesday, supervisors certified the results of a new petition that had a total of 417 valid signatures without discussion.
District 5 Supervisor Susan Masten was absent.
Authored by Wesley Nunn, the petition states that Measure R passed by less than 1 percent of the vote. It argues that local businesses can’t compete because Brookings, Oregon has no sales tax and that citizens oversight committees “merely rubber stamp.”
The petition also states that county employees didn’t voluntarily reduce their salaries even though other residents lost businesses, homes and “are struggling.”
“In the past three years, Director Heidi Kunstal, Probation Officer Lonnie Reyman and DA Katie Micks got increases between $30,000 and $50,000 while already making over a six figure income,” Nunn stated. “All (are) arguing to keep Measure R.”
In April, county staff gave a presentation to supervisors on what would happen if Measure R was repealed. According to $748,700 went toward wage adjustments at the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, for juvenile hall and adult probation officers, investigators at the District Attorney’s Office and correctional staff at the jail. Measure R also paid for a new emergency dispatch system and a second records clerk position.
Within the Community Development Department, $475,000 in Measure R dollars were budgeted for infrastructure and capital improvements, while $77,000 were used to hire a county planner.
Measure R dollars was also used to hire a second code enforcement officer and another employee in the county’s Office of Emergency Services.
On Tuesday, Norma Williams, president of the Del Norte County Employees Association called on leadership within the Sheriff’s Employees Association and mid management to “join us in working to defeat these two ballot measures.” She issued that same challenge to county employees across the board.
“This impacts all of us,” she said. “I’m asking county employees to stand up instead of sitting down, speak out instead of being silent and advocate instead of being complacent and capitulating.”
A similar initiative repealing Measure S, the 1 percent sales tax Crescent City voters approved in 2020, is expected to appear on the November ballot.