Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy

Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy

In a shocking turn of events, the city of Bakersfield’s sales tax measure has gained enough votes to pass.

In a 97-vote decision, yes votes edged out no votes by one-tenth of one percent. The tax measure currently stands at 50.05 percent yes votes to 49.95 percent no votes, or 45,835 to 45,738, according to an update released Monday by the Kern County Elections Office.

There are no ballots left to be counted, Assistant Registrar of Voters Karen Rhea said in an email.

Measure N, which will raise the sales tax in the city from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent, initially appeared to fail on election night after the first returns showed a seemingly insurmountable deficit of 1,500 votes that grew to 2,600 a few days later.

But as the Elections Office counted mail-in and provisional ballots in the weeks after the election, the deficit began to erode.

As of last week the measure was within 14 votes of passing, gaining momentum that seemed to make it destined to pass.

Measure N has passed by 97 votes as the results stand now.

"Those of us who deal with complaints every day - and felt we were out of viable options about how to deal with that in the big picture - to have the chance now to address those issues in a comprehensive way is a very good feeling," said City Manager Alan Tandy.

The tax increase would raise an estimated $50 million per year for the city.

City officials have said they would hire 100 police officers if the measure passed, which would allow the Bakersfield Police Department to respond to a greater amount of complaints in person.

The city has received complaints about the kinds of calls it responds to. On low-level calls such as residential break-ins that had already occurred, crime victims have been asked to fill out an online form rather than speaking to a police officer.

With the additions to the police force, BPD should be able to expand the services it offers to residents.

Tandy said it will take three years to recruit, train and put on active duty all 100 officers the city plans on hiring. 

In the meantime, he said the city will initiate other services.

"We have a list of things that are going to happen quite promptly so that people will see enhancement to public safety right away," he said.

The city has said it will hire staff for economic development purposes, increase homelessness abatement efforts and restore cuts from several years ago that occurred at the Bakersfield Fire Department.

"Now we’re given an opportunity," said City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales, who campaigned in favor of the sales tax. "We’re given the opportunity to show the entire community what we can do when we have additional resources."

He predicted that many improvements to the city's quality-of-life elements would be enacted as a result of the tax increase, including upgrades to the city's downtown.

"For years and years and years, the city of Bakersfield has been doing more with less," he said. "And at some point you begin doing less with less. So now we’re able to really take it to the next level."

The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, which supported the tax increase, also celebrated the passing of Measure N.

"The Measure N campaign was an unprecedented coalition of business, public safety, labor and community groups that came together to build a safer, stronger Bakersfield," Chamber President and CEO Nick Ortiz said in an email. "With the Measure’s apparent passage (with today’s updated totals), the Chamber’s charge now is to work with the City to ensure the funds are spent in a manner consistent with the community’s priorities."

But the passage of Measure N initiates a “nightmare scenario” for the Kern County government.

The county also put a 1 percent sales tax increase on the ballot, which was soundly voted down by voters.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood initially proposed the tax increase to the Board of Supervisors.

He said he worried that if the city passed a sales tax increase without a similar increase in the county, the city would go on a police officer hiring spree that would result in droves of deputies leaving the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

The department already faces a shortage of active-duty deputies, which could be exasperated now that Measure N has appeared to pass.

Last week, Youngblood said that he had no plans for mitigating the situation, but he would work with the County Administrative Office to try to prevent the bleeding of deputies from the county.

Attempting to allay the county's worries, Tandy said in an email that historically 90 percent to 95 percent of BPD hires had been either entry-level employees or laterals from across the state, not just the county.

The sales tax will take effect beginning April 1, Tandy said, with the first influx of cash arriving near the end the current fiscal year.

The city will now go about making a flush budget for the next fiscal year with the increase in funding. The county will, once again, prepare for what could be another lean year.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415 or You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

(45) comments


Remember when "Election Night" used to mean "Election Night"...?


When I produced a week long car club meet there one of the first things I noticed was the roads. all smooth, no potholes, cracks shifting or other pavement issues that afflict the roads here in Bake town. Those folks are willing to pay for good infrustructre while a bunch of centeral california cretins can do is rant and rage abou taxes not getting why what public funds are collected and what they are for. The city of Palm Springs sales tax is 9.25% so right wingers, quit your sniveling. I would love to see better curbs, gutters sidewalks, bike trails and decent paving.


Public school English classes....? Take a refresher course at B.C.....


It doesn't matter how much education or refresher courses or what ever I've had if I post something without proof reading if first. Oops doesn't count.

On TBC's site once posted the writer is stuck with it. No do-overs allowed.


You must be misinformed. The tax increase is not and has never been presented by city staff as an funding tool for roads and infrastructure. Its primary purpose is to fund pension debt as reported by Councilman Weir who presented ample evidence. Now you can say your informed.

Stating the obvious

The point is that the money NEVER goes there ,Stephen.


On business in Palm Springs in 2006 one of the first things I noticed was the roads. All roads were smooth, no potholes, cracks shifting or other pavement issues that afflict many of the roads here in Bake town. Those folks are willing to pay for good infrastructure while a bunch of central Californians with their superior knowledge of civics (so they think) can do is rant and rage about taxes not getting why public funds are collected and what they have to be used for.

Yes public money does get spent on things some taxpayers don’t like. Some tax money is used for obligations locked in by law often referred to as “unfunded mandates.”

For comparison, the city of Palm Springs sales tax is 9.25% so right wingers, quit your sniveling. This community is seriously under policed for our population. Also, some would love to see better curbs, gutters sidewalks, bike trails and decent paving, While increased taxes will fund some things some won’t like they will also fund things we do and will make live here better.

Stating the obvious

Man, if this is true the liberals are stupider than I thought. Thanks to those of you who suggested big purchases made out of county and as much online shopping as possible. This is one step closer to socialism (we're already there) and the idiots that voted to raise our taxes are just ignoring history. Left always fails in the end- and then we all pay for it.


I find it amusing how Bakerisfieldians, many who support Trump and his ilk, peddle conspiracy theories about voter fraud and other government corruption without a shred of proof, but because they do not like the results. I have lived here now for more than a few years and I am no longer surprised by the stunning level of pervasive hateful ignorance thinly masked as religious values and informed opinions and beliefs. When Bakersfield failed to pass a 1/8 sales cent tax for libraries a few years ago, I was convinced that many in Bakersfield do not value literacy. I realize it is one of those cultural resentments of the willingly ignorant, many who are proud Trump supporters and undisguised racial prejudices, against people who read or are educated. It is not a wonder why the KHSD has a 6th grade average reading level.

Stating the obvious

What does this have to do w/ Trump? Absolutely nothing.


I voted for Trump, and I have an MA in English. How about you?


Obviously, you missed the part about the "cultural resentments" and "racial "prejudices" I referenced. My MA is in history and I have a BA in political science although that does not mean anything for the most part. I do not associate intelligence level with character or good moral values.


Obviously, you failed to notice the comments spouting conspiracy theories about voter fraud/corruption, which Trump does all of the time. I guess that direct connection was not stated obviously enough for you.


That's great. Then it should be easy for you to explain to us common folk what "Vote Harvesting" is and why, while illegal in some other states, Sacramento made sure it was "legal" here in California. You can then gives us your opinion if you find that type of vote manipulation a bit underhanded when Dems go into retirement homes and such with hand-loads of pre-filled ballots collecting signatures. That is sickening.


I am so happy you mentioned "ballot harvesting," which is legal and also practiced by Republicans. Yes, it also practiced by Republicans. I think that bears repeating. At least that is what GOP California spokesman Matt Fleming has publicly stated(to Fox News). I am so happy that you mentioned "ballot harvesting" because there are others people who tried to disparage and dismiss my comments about conspiracy theories and Trump. Fortunately, you and a few others who peddle in thoroughly discredited voter fraud conspiracy theories (credible studies have concluded that voter fraud is insignificant) to justify your call for more voter suppression laws such as increased qualifications and restrictions. It's been obvious to me for years that conservatives have been trying to justify their voter suppression position by repeatedly, often using anecdotal evidence, calling for increased qualifications and restrictions that appear to impact non-white populations who do not have a record of voting Republican. Of course. Stevie Wonder in a dark room could see the long-standing Republican strategy of trying to perpetuate the rampant voter fraud myth in order disqualify potential non-white voters.

Now, I'll get to ballot harvesting. “Ballot harvesting” is political jargon for a practice in which organized workers or volunteers collect absentee ballots from certain voters and drop them off at a polling place or election office. Of course, common folk like me should defer to someone with your expertise in perpetuating voter fraud myths. By the way, there have been no credible reports of "ballot harvesting" being employed illegally or systematically to amount to voter fraud, but I know that will not stop people like you from believing any differently because you are so wedded to that conspiracy theory. I wonder, did the Shelby County v. Holder sicken you as well? I have a funny feeling you thought it was justified and proper.


Yea, it's those horrible "elitists" who actually know something about history, the constitution, the law and our system of government. And, oh yea, realize this is the 21st century, not the 18th.


When you talk to a liberal, they always TELL you they are the smartest person in the room. No one else feels that way, so they have to TELL you. It’s a liberal’s version of “auto-fell...o”…..

Stating the obvious

I am an attorney and I have a bachelors in history so I actually DO know what I am talking about. How about you Stephen? I'm guessing a bachelors degree at most and you spend your time spouting leftist hate- which is ALL the left has to offer America.


Leftest hate?


We're so lucky to have you in our community....!


What a scam! Bakersfield has gone the way of the rest of California, how sad.

I believed in supporting local businesses, but now will shop on line. You can get free shipping, no tax if you shop out of state.

You can pick your appliances and big ticket items, order out of state, same warranty. Not Amazon, they pay California taxes.



With Amazon you can still avoid the Bako 1% scam rate and just pay the state rate. Something to consider, with the Amazon Fulfillment Center coming to the County Airport, we will have same day delivery on most goods here in Bako like other cities.


Who actually vote to increase taxes? Do these people have a brain? Is there any hope that the bureaucrats will actually be fiscally responsible? People voting for tax increase must be brain dead. Heck, why not have them pay another percent to offset all of us that have voted against the tax increase? Ugh!!


California is gone. Even if you try to vote these cronies out, they have found a way to harvest votes and "vote" themselves back in. Early voting, Mailed-in, absentee, provisional, loaded rolls, 120% turn out in some precincts, etc, etc, etc. Throw in Jennifer Pitcher hired by Liberals to pretend to be a conservative to split the vote on the right. These lefties have their claws deep into poor California, the former Golden State. Now just a toothless, homeless addict dependent on handouts from unsuspecting, gullible taxpaying fools. Shameful. All the tricks were on display, yet unseen.


Too fishy. This is a very conservative town, NO way it was up by so much just to lose. IF it did, fine, but a lot of misinformed Bakersfield voters. If you think this will improve things think again. Ask why Arvin did the same thing and now their budget is terribe !!!!! Thank you LIBERALS


Going outside of Bakersfield to make large purchases only gives that city / county your tax dollars. Why wouldn't you want your tax dollars to stay in your own city / county? I'm sure that residents in other places complain that their leaders are crooked too. So, again, why wouldn't you want your tax money to stay where you live? If you shop in one of the smaller cities in Kern County (Arvin, Delano, Wasco, Ridgecrest) you are already paying 8.25% sales tax. Follow the below link to see what other places are paying for their sales tax, or what you would be paying if you made your purchases elsewhere. If you haven't noticed a lot of brick and mortar stores are closing and going out of business. That is where sales tax dollars came from. When you buy online, you don't always pay local sales tax, if any sales tax for that matter. For me, buy local, support small business.

Bakersfield Bob

This is so funny! Oh, sure! Really it is. I thought political corruption and city government duplicity was primarily in Sacramento, Washington, D.C. and corrupt liberal cities like that. But Bakersfield City has 'em all beat...more taxes!


Its very suspect and ignorant of the people to vote to be taxed even more!
Just like all the Republican Seats that supposedly flipped Democrat!

I dont believe one word of it.


[sad] Now let's demand a recount. I don't believe it and after all this delayed time, something smells fishy, I hate fish!


After more careful thought, what is most concerning here are the current City Counsel members as well as Tandy who do not care whatsoever about the disabled, senior citizen, minority and poor who will be disproportionately hurt by this tax increase. And lets not forget our city leaders lied about the purpose of this measure from the very beginning only to hurt the disadvantage. Shameful!!!!!


GOVERNOR - Vote For 1
Completed Precincts: 655 of 655 VOTE COUNT PERCENTAGE
JOHN H. COX, REP 119870 58.94%
GAVIN NEWSOM, DEM 83507 41.06%
Completed Precincts: 655 of 655 VOTE COUNT PERCENTAGE
Yes 112506 56.52%
No 86540 43.48%

Completed Precincts: 317 of 317 VOTE COUNT PERCENTAGE
No 46899 64.68%
Yes 25610 35.32%
Completed Precincts: 262 of 262 VOTE COUNT PERCENTAGE
No 47656 52.35%
Yes 43383 47.65%


Passes by 97 out of of 90,573 voters total? All determined to be "verified"?

Hmmmmmm . . . It takes a supermajority to pass all other $$ issues in any legislature.

DON'T BUY ANYTHING IN BAKERSFIELD THAT CHARGES TAX. FOOD IS TAX-FREE . . . ! New Automobiles? Find a specific car you like at a Bako dealer, then go to an outside dealer to order that exact car from that dealer on a vehicle trade(?)..


Most importantly let’s not let the people of Bakersfield remember who voted for the sales tax increase word to City Councilman Andre Gonzales. Ward 4 City Councilman Bob Smith. And all but Ken weir , voted to raise your taxes , cause they can’t do their jobs and grow revenue


Don’t believe it passed , but all well , Now we deserve a forensic audit , They shouldn’t have any problem with that now , they have the money , Where is the 83 million from the settlement of the water company cal water and bakersfield received in January,has any customers received their reductions ? I’ll bet not


Extreme corruption is at hand here in Bako. No wonder the ACLU is opening an office here in Bako. I know two city workers who are celebrating tonight. Big pay raises coming soon to city workers


There is no way this passed. A recount is in order.


How is it that all of these "provisional" ballots go for democrats and high tax propositions?

The Jackal

City manager Alan Tandy is a crook.

The Jackal

I wouldn't be surprised if there was some fraud involved. With all the public corruption going on and people internally crying foul, it wouldn't be too far-fetched. Just more money for the City to waste.


What the general public doesn’t understand about this sales tax increase is that it was created to cover the short falls of City retirement programs. Why should we be held responsible for there retirement just saying.


Will be interesting to see if people move their shopping to outside the city limits especially for larger purchases to avoid the increase in tax.


I hope so, I will at every chance I have!

Gary Crabtree

Down by 2,600 and passes by 97 votes. Tandy and the City Council did a great job of "ballot harvesting". Pardon me for thinking that the city is still full of crooks and Good Ole Boys.


I guess you would say the same thing about the Cox/Valadao contest as well. And there were other races throughout the state that were in the balance during the past election. Of course, if conspiracy theories are what you choose, then so be it.....


Only in California will you find people willing to vote YES on raising taxes.
Unbelievable...and then again, not.

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