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The best things in life are free, but you have to pay for the necessities.

In Taft, we've had things pretty good here in terms of public services.

A clean, well kept city with public works crews that fill potholes and have secured vacant buildings to keep transients out, a police department that is prompt and professional and keeps Taft a very, very safe place to live; and excellent fire protection through a contract with the Kern County Fire Department.

But all that is in jeopardy now.

Decisions already made in Sacramento have cost the city a lot of money and its hard to be optimistic that more money won't be lost.

The City says it could be up to $3 million in lost revenue, including the rmoney lost when the state closed Taft's modified community corrections facility.

A federal decision to close the Taft Correctional Facility for at least several years has also hurt.

Costs are going up significantly.

Taft has been able to contract with the KCFD for the past 15 years for about $500,000 annually.

It was a pretty good dal.

But now the county, facing fiscal challenges of its own, says it can't afford to subsidize the smaller cities in the county like Taft.

For Taft that means our costs are going to double very soon.

All this is adding up to create the potential for a fiscal crisis that could lead to layoffs and cutbacks in city services.

The one way to avoid that crisis is to vote for Measure A.

It will help the city raise the necessary money to keep Taft safe and clean.

The revenues raised from the measure will all be kept local and under control of local elected officials. None of the money goes to Sacramento and all of the control stays right here in Taft.

That's important because every penny raised will be spent here where its needed. Road repair, a clean safe Rails to Trails, police protection, fire protection -- the things that matter to all of us.

The Driller recommends a yes vote on Measure A to maintain the quality of life and safety we all now enjoy.