Survey pleases council in RP
Measure E also receives a boost
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By Jud Snyder  June 28, 2013 12:00 am

In 2010 Rohnert Park voters approved a half-cent sales tax to raise funds for paying for city services. This was Measure E, and it has a “sunset date” of five years, which means it ends in 2015.

But a recent community survey released by Darrin Jenkins, assistant city manager, tells us “Over two-thirds (69 percent) of residents say they would support extending Measure E’s half cent tax to continue to maintain and protect essential city services.”

Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates, who have offices in Oakland and other cities, conducted the survey. 

Jenkins noted, “Survey results indicate residents are much more satisfied with the way things are going in Rohnert Park than they were in 2009. Two-thirds of the residents feel the city is headed in the right direction. Which is nearly a 50 percent increase since 2009 and a substantial majority give the city government favorable ratings.”

Rohnert Park’s City Council discussed the survey at their Tuesday, June 25 meeting. They were pleased with the results because the numbers provided by Shakari Byerly, vice-president of FM3, put themselves and the city in a better light than four years ago. But no one on the council mentioned putting a continuation of Measure E on any future ballot.

The survey was done by telephone with 367 “randomly selected” RP residents called between May 16-28 this year.

More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) said the city is “headed in the right direction.” Four years ago, the percentage was less than 50 percent. City government functions had a high rating this year with 83 percent for police services, 80 percent for firefighting services, 70 percent for city government and 67 percent for the city council. The Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District had a 59 percent rating. All percentages were higher than in 2009 except for the fire services, down from 86 percent to 80 percent.

Main concerns gleaned from the survey are mainly about state budget cuts and worries about potential cuts in city services. These verged from 66 percent on state budget cuts to 47 percent concerned about “salaries and pensions for retired public employees.”

Lesser concerns include local economics, potholes, gangs and youth crimes, sewer and water bills and the Graton Tribe casino. Percentages ranged from 45 percent down to 30 percent.

The casino total was 31 percent. A further connection here showed many citizens are aware of the money the city has received in mitigation funds from the casino, but “only a few believe it will solve the city’s budget problems.”

In what could be called a summation, survey residents were asked about “maintaining quality of life, exerting local control and maintaining existing tax rates.” These were rated as “most compelling” with 78 percent, 76 percent and 74 percent.

In her survey conclusion, Byerly noted “Renewing Measure E in November 2013 appears to be viable.” But the city council ignored her conclusion.

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