Both Kern County and Bakersfield voters rejected two 1 percent sales tax measures on the ballot, county voters decisively so.
With all precincts reporting in, 52 percent of voters opposed the city sales tax, Measure N, and 48 were in favor.
On the county's side, 67 percent of residents voted against Measure I compared to 33 percent that voted in favor.
"We’re between a rock and a hard spot, but we’ll do the best we can," said Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who first proposed the county sales tax to the Board of Supervisors. "We’ll go to work tomorrow, we’ll roll our sleeves up, and we’ll try to figure out how we’re going to deal with this over the next several months."
The two sales tax measures, which would have raised both taxes from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent, were sold to voters as cures for the ills facing both the city of Bakersfield and Kern County.
With Measure N, city officials said they could hire 100 additional police officers to reduce response times and provide additional services for the citizens of the city.
Measure I came as a response to Measure N. Youngblood proposed the sales tax increase by saying he worried that the deputies from the Sheriff’s Office would leave for the higher salaries of BPD if the city went on a hiring spree.
He said the county needed the sales tax revenue to help alleviate the department's shortage of deputies, a longstanding problem that has contributed to low morale.
City officials have said that city services have been reduced over the years, and will continue to shrink without additional revenue from the sales tax.