By Jonathan Morales
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 at 11:50 am in Orinda.
If you live in Orinda, that phone call this week could be from a pollster, asking you how satisfied you are with city services and how much you’d be willing to pay to improve them.
The City Council last week agreed to go ahead with polling the community about its receptiveness to some of the recommendations of the Revenue Enhancement Task Force, and City Manager Janet Keeter told me Monday that the poll questions are being finalized and 400 lucky residents can be expecting calls as soon as this week.
Pollsters will ask residents about how happy they are with various city services, including police, planning and the library. In addition, residents will be asked about their willingness to support a number of ballot measures that would bring new taxes to pay for infrastructure or other city services. Those taxes would include a parcel tax, a general obligation bond (ad valorem property tax), a utility users tax and a real property transfer tax. Keeter said the phone call will take about 20 minutes.
Like other Lamorinda cities, Orinda officials are looking for ways to secure additional revenue that state legislators, looking to close California’s budget deficit, can’t take away. The RETF recommended those taxes as potential sources of new revenue.
While a property transfer tax would require charter city status, Keeter said the city will not be polling on that. Lafayette has a draft charter and is already surveying its residents about becoming a charter city, and the two cities have agreed to share polling results, she said.
The hope is the results of the survey would come back to the City Council on Feb. 2. They would have to make quick decisions if they wanted to put any measures on the June ballot.