Chula Vista residents sound off over proposed sales tax hike

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Chula Vista residents attended a meeting Thursday night to discuss solutions to a personnel shortage in the city’s police and fire departments.

Although Chula Vista is the second largest city in San Diego County, it currently has the lowest number of police per citizen in the county.

In February, the Chula Vista City Council voted to place a measure on the ballot that, if passed, would raise the city's sales tax by a half-percent, from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent.

“The more officers we have, the more that we can focus on issues in our community, we can get there quicker," Chula Vista Police Chief Roxanna Kennedy said.

The city's goal is to raise $16 million to hire 47 new police positions and 36 new firefighters.

But not all residents are in support of a sales tax hike. Russ Hall says the city is being too vague with the language in the Measure A initiative.

“This city has been very, very deceptive in how they’re describing this to the public,” Hall said. “This is going to be going into the general fund. This money can be allocated however the council wants to allocate it.”

But Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas says the money is critical to keep public safety operations running smoothly.

“We simply must do it,” Salas said. “We understand the hesitation that some members of the public have but on the other hand, when we’ve gone out to community forums and we‘ve done the polling, they really support our police and fire.”

Residents will vote on the measure on June 5.