Hemet Measure U tax oversight committee in place

Seven Hemet residents determined to keep the Measure U general sales tax money going only to the police, fire and public safety services were appointed to a Measure U Oversight Committee by the Hemet City Council Feb. 14.

The seven Oversight Committee members were selected out of almost three dozen applicants after extensive ad hoc committee interviews by the council. Four were selected from a field of Hemet residents and three who own or manage businesses in Hemet’s sphere of influence.

The Measure U Oversight Committee members are Eric Gosch the owner of Gosch Motors, Richard Biber public relations liaison for Healthy Hospitals, attorney Rob Davis, retired Hemet fire captain Jeff Retmier, retired Hemet Police Department employee Suzzanne Kozma, community activist Marie McDonald and Robin Rickert a Hemet Police Department volunteer.

Measure U, a 1 percent sales tax measure passed by Hemet voters in November of last year, is considered a general tax that could be spent for any city need. The measure was mandated by the community to be spent only for the police, fire and emergency medical services provided by the city. Hemet City Council, before the elections in November 2016, made up of K. Paul Raver, Bonnie Wright, Linda Krupa, Robert Youseff and Shellie Milne had mixed feelings about Measure U. Milne dropped out of the city council race to run for the Riverside County 3rd District Supervisorial race and Raver resigned shortly after the election and passage of Measure U.

The remaining councilmembers, all who voiced strong support for the measure, passed an ordinance vowing to keep the Measure U money only for public safety use. They also agreed to create the Measure U Oversight Committee made up of citizens to assure the council kept the tax money for its intended purpose.

After the election, with new councilmembers Karlee Meyer and Mayor Pro Tem Michael Perciful now sitting on the dais, council signed the Measure U supportive measure. Earlier this month Russ Brown, appointed by the council to fill the remaining two-year term of Raver, also signed the ordinance.

The Oversight Committee members were selected from a final field of 11. Each finalist was given three minutes to summarize the reasons they wanted to be on the committee. They all said they were determined to keep to city council and all future city councils spending the Measure U tax money only for the safety of the people in the city of Hemet.

The other finalists were Chuck Steadman, Dan Goodrich and Brad Hyman. Mayor Linda Krupa said it was a very difficult decision to pick the members of the committee because all were highly qualified. She urged the remaining finalists to apply for other city commissions.

Krupa thanked the new members of the Oversight Committee for their willingness to keep the money on track and said the council would expect them to meet and give the council a quarterly financial update on the fund expenditures.

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