Hercules path back to fiscal solvency may require a helping hand from a local sales tax measure that will be on the June 5 ballot. If approved, it will eliminate about one-third of the city’s deficit.

Local leaders have said that without the sales tax hike; city services including the police department will be cut even further. Other city services will also suffer, including the total elimination of youth and senior programs. However, the four-year sales tax increase will provide the city with about $500,000 that can be used to protect the services.

The police force would have trouble absorbing more cuts. It already has a third less officers this year as compared to last year.

From the Contra Costa Times:

A half-cent city sales tax on the June 5 ballot in Hercules would eliminate only about one-third of a $1.6 million budget shortfall in the next fiscal year.

But without it, an already understaffed Police Department will be cut further, and youth and senior programs will be eliminated, officials warn.

Measure O would raise just over $500,000 annually, officials estimated in March, and would bring the sales tax in Hercules to 8.75 percent. The tax would expire after four years. Voting by mail starts Monday.

Read the full article here.