ANTIOCH -- City leaders took a first step this week toward ensuring money from a recent voter-approved sales tax will go to police by setting parameters for the measure's citizens oversight committee.

Antioch lawmakers have been adamant that Measure C will be spent as it was promoted to voters, solely toward police staffing and reducing blight. Critics and some residents remain leery about trusting the City Council, pointing out the estimated $4.7 million per year in revenue will go into the city's general fund, where it can be used for any legal municipal purpose.

The City Council on Tuesday added several measures to the seven-member committee to alleviate doubts, including insisting on more public meetings for the board to show transparency and that candidate applications spell out the city's public safety goals.

"There's going to be a degree of establishing trust and accountability with the public," Councilman Gary Agopian said. "The point of this is the public is involved, and the public sees the members of the public that are involved."

Mayor Wade Harper added: "What we really want is oversight, not just check the box. We literally want oversight of this."

Antioch will accept applications for the oversight board, which will review all revenue raised and expenditures from Measure C, until Jan. 16. At least one member of the oversight board will be required to have a financial, accounting or auditing background. The board will meet at least twice a year.


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The council decided that the mayor and councilmember who sit on the city's budget subcommittee should make candidate recommendations, at least initially. Harper and Agopian are currently on that committee.

"I think that we're being very cautious. We've heard enough that some (in the public) don't believe us, so we're trying to make it as transparent as possible," Mayor Pro Tem Mary Rocha said.

"We want to give this committee as much teeth as we can. We really want it to be trustworthy," Agopian said.

The council also insisted on getting reports from the committee or finance department on how the money is being spent each quarter when police Chief Allan Cantando gives his report on the status of the police department.

An independent auditor will also complete yearly reports of raised revenue and expenditures for Measure C, which kicks in April 1. The oversight committee will also review expenditures in the spring around the time the city sets its annual budget.

Antioch is taking applications to fill the seven-member committee through 5 p.m. on Jan. 16. The committee will be appointed to staggered terms: four members for four-year terms and three for two-year terms.

For more information, visit www.ci.antioch.ca.us.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

To apply
Antioch is taking applications to fill the seven-member committee through 5 p.m. on Jan. 16. The committee will be appointed to staggered terms: four members for four-year terms and three for two-year terms.
For more information, visit www.ci.antioch.ca.us.