Yesterday, I wrote about the campaign and election to set minimum wages for San Bernardino Police Officers in the form of section 181-A.

    The opponents, who, other than Councilman Timothy Sheehan were not named contemporaneously in the San Bernardino Daily Sun, said that the moves would be costly, particularly in light of earlier promises to hire more police officers to meet the growing needs of the growing city.

    According to a budget proposal detailed in the San Bernardino Daily Sun on July 15th  under the line item “Police department Charter Amendment,” an increase for the next fiscal year (1939-1940) attributable to the amendment was $11,188.89.  San Bernardino Daily Sun, July 15, 1939, Page 11.

    When the City passed the budget on July 18th, the total increase was roughly $75,000 over the 1938-1939 budget.  The Police Department’s estimated expenditures in 1938-1939 were $66,930.01.  The FY 1939-40 amount budgeted was $83,916.39. That figure doesn’t include the traffic division, which was also impacted by 1939’s Charter Amendment No. 1, but it also involved hiring three new officers. A charter amendment in 1937 allowed the City to hire more officers. The traffic division’s budget increased from $16,998.51 to $19,115.30.

    The total 1939-1940 budget was $615,810.88, a 14 percent increase over 1938-39’s $540,614.22.  How did the City propose to pay for the increase?  Through a tax increase from 18 cents to 21 cents.  San Bernardino Daily Sun, July 19, 1939, Page 11.

    If you recall from yesterday, the union advertisement said there was plenty of money in the traffic court fund to pay for the increases.  The budget presented in the newspaper only gave expenditures, and not revenues.  While there was a tax increase, the amount directly attributable to the charter amendment, assuming no tax increase was needed to pass a budget equal to FY 1938-1939, would be $11,188.89 (charter salary increase)/$75,196.66 (budget increase) = 14.88%.  So, of the 3 cents (presumably property) tax increase, 4/10ths of a cent was attributable to the Charter Amendment.

    The questions not answered so far are would the San Bernardino Police Department faced attrition if they had not received raises, would they have been able to recruit qualified candidates for the new positions, and whether, without the charter amendment, they would have received raises through collective bargaining versus putting minimums in the Charter.

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