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Oct. 2, 2022

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Clark County voters approving police body-camera tax

Prop. 11 divides revenue between county, cities

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Clark County voters appear to have approved a 0.1 percent sales tax to fund public safety initiatives, including a body-worn camera program for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, according to preliminary results in Tuesday’s primary.

Proposition 11 led the votes with 60.44 percent of the 63,742 votes on Tuesday night. The measure states the county would retain 60 percent of the collected revenue, and 40 percent would be distributed between cities on a per capita basis. Clark County expects the tax increase to generate $12 million in 2023, meaning $4.8 million would be allocated among cities. Vancouver would receive about $3.38 million.

Clark County Councilors Karen Bowerman and Gary Medvigy celebrated the preliminary passage of the measure for the funding to address law enforcement staffing and upgrades needed at the Clark County Jail, in addition to implementing a body camera program.

“I’m not surprised (it’s passing) because we’ve heard feedback from the community for months that they want to see these things in the county and they understand this is how,” Bowerman said Tuesday night.

Medvigy said he was pleasantly surprised that with other levies on the ballot, inflation and the lingering pandemic, voters would be willing to boost a tax. However, he said he’s grateful people took the measure seriously.

“Although it means more sales tax, people are really concerned about law and order,” Medvigy said. “People are willing to dig a little deeper because public safety is such a big task of county government.”

The sheriff’s office said in a statement the agency is thankful the community appears to have passed the measure.

“The Clark County Sheriff’s Office recognizes the raising of taxes during this inflationary period of our economy is a big ask,” the statement said. “We will continue to work together with our county councilors and the county manager to move our agency forward, increase our transparency, and provide services to the best of our ability. The community’s support is essential to the success of the Sheriff’s Office and our employees.”

Both councilors recognized the important task of allocating the funding the proposition will generate.

“This will really provide a lot of resources and we have a lot of work to do,” Medvigy said.

The Vancouver City Council endorsed the proposition last month.

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