20190301-bc-oversight (copy)

In this file photo, members are sworn in during the first meeting of the Citizens Oversight Committee at the Truxtun Room at the Rabobank Convention Center. Committee members seated are Barry Hibbard, Brian Holt, Kenneth Keller, Wayland Louie, Fredrick Prince, Mitchell Rowland, Beatrice Sanders and Jeremy Tobias.

With less than a month to go before the deadline to apply for the final spot on Bakersfield’s sales tax oversight committee, far fewer people have shown interest in the position than the first time around.

Only two people have applied.

“There’s been a definite reduction in interest,” said City Clerk Julie Drimakis.

She added that she expected most people to file their applications either on the day of, or the day before, the April 24 deadline.

In February, the city chose from what's believed to be a record number of applicants for a city committee to fill the nine-person committee tasked with overseeing the city’s spending on revenue earned from its 1 percent sales tax increase.

A total of 87 people applied, although five were eliminated because they did not live in Bakersfield.

The Bakersfield City Council selected the nine initial applicants in multiple rounds of voting during one council meeting. All but one of them were men, causing a wave of pushback from the community.

One applicant, Pritesh Patel, dropped out before the committee’s first meeting, saying his schedule was already too busy.

The council then had a choice of either selecting one of the five finalists who did not end up on the committee or restart the voting process with a new batch of applicants.

The council voted unanimously to field a new batch of applicants.

The eight-member committee has already begun the process of voting on the city’s spending proposals. The committee has already voted to recommend $14.5 million of spending by the city, and could approve the next fiscal year’s $56.5 million spending package by Monday.

Sam Morgen can be reached at 661-395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @smorgenTBC.

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