PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

The number of people to be appointed to Palm Springs' Measure J Oversight Committee is being increased from seven to nine, a city spokeswoman said today.

The city recently interviewed about 45 people for the committee, which
will oversee the use of revenue generated by a sales tax increase approved by
voters last November.

An ordinance is being drafted to increase the committee's size from seven to nine, with two non-voting alternates, in light of the ``spectacular group of uniquely qualified Palm Springs residents'' who were interviewed, city spokeswoman Amy Blaisdell said.

The committee members have not been chosen yet.

``We had so many well-qualified candidates, it was difficult to narrow the field to seven,'' said Mayor Steve Pougnet. ``The City Council and I are very excited about the impressive field of candidates for this important commission and we hope to announce the new members very soon.''

Measure J funds public infrastructure improvements and bankrolled a $43 million investment in a downtown shopping center by raising the city's sales tax from 7.75 percent to 8.75 percent. The higher levy will remain in effect for 25 years, with the increase expected to generate about $200 million over that time.

In February, the city launched a website -- www.psmeasurej.com -- that
tracks news related to Measure J.