City Conducts Survey for Potential 1% Sales Tax Increase

The City of Dixon hired consultants to conduct a survey regarding a proposed local sales tax – ranging for 1/4 cent to a full cent – ostensibly to pay for road and other infrastructure, notably a Parkway Boulevard overpass. Details of the survey’s cost was not available at press time, but the IV will pursue the information and report it. Typically such surveys cost several tens of thousands of dollars. The tax hike would be in addition to current sales taxes, including on gasoline (The state actually imposes the sales tax on the gasoline taxes – a tax on taxes.)
The survey was emailed to random recipients in Dixon. (See Mike Ceremello’s Musing column for commentary on its validity.) Notably, the survey was not designed just to elicit from the public what the perceived needs are for improving roads and infrastructure. Rather it is typical of surveys conducted by political consultants to devise strategies and messages to persuade voters.
The questionnaire consisted of the following:
(Printed below as presented in the survey.)
What is the most important issue facing your community today?
Do you think that the City of Dixon is on the right track or on the wrong track?
Do you approve or disapprove of the job that the Dixon City Council is doing?
Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the job the City of Dixon is doing maintaining local streets and roads (asphalt condition, fixing potholes, paint striping, signage)?
Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the job the City of Dixon is doing maintaining City-owned properties, such as parks, City Hall, and the tennis courts (landscaped well, clear of litter and debris)?
Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the job the City of Dixon is doing providing police services?
Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the job the City of Dixon is doing providing fire and paramedic services?
Here’s a list of names of several people and organizations. For each name, please choose if you have heard of them and if you have a favorable, unfavorable opinion, no opinion or have never heard of them: Solano County Taxpayers Association, Dixon Chapter; Dixon Tribune; Independent Voice
What are your top two sources for news and information about local government in Dixon?
Local radio; Newspaper; Magazines; A website or blog; Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; Local television;
Something else; Nothing; Unsure

Please specify your source of Newspaper
Here’s a list of several issues that may be facing your community. Please read each and then choose three issues should be the top priorities of the Dixon Mayor and City Council? (Choose three)
Controlling growth and development; Reducing traffic congestion Reducing crime, gangs, drugs, graffiti; Improving recreation services; Protecting the environment; Increasing the availability of affordable housing; Repairing city streets and sidewalks; Supporting local schools; Bringing jobs to the city; Other; Unsure
In November 2018, you may get the opportunity to vote on a ballot measure that would increase the sales tax by one-cent in Dixon to fund road maintenance and transportation projects in the City In general, would you vote yes in favor of the one cent sales tax increase, or would you vote no, against it?
According to annual financial audits, City finances are well-managed and always completed on time. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for a one-cent sales tax increase in Dixon to fund road maintenance and transportation projects in the City?
The Parkway Boulevard Overpass project would extend Parkway Boulevard to Pitt School Road and improve traffic circulation, especially downtown. A sales tax increase of a half-cent would provide the necessary funding so that the Parkway Boulevard Overpass can be built sooner than waiting for development to occur. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for a half-cent sales tax increase in Dixon to fund road maintenance and transportation projects in the City?
Based on the current available budget for road repairs, the engineer’s report shows Dixon roads will fall to an overall D-minus grade by 2019. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for a one-cent sales tax increase in Dixon to fund road maintenance and transportation projects in the City?
Without new revenue, potholes will go unfilled, and streets that need to be sealed or have a coat of new slurry applied will not get them. As roads become less safe, accidents caused by poor conditions will increase. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for a one-cent sales tax increase in Dixon to fund road maintenance and transportation projects in the City?
A recent engineer’s report of all 63 miles of roads in the City of Dixon found the streets received a C grade. This means that while some streets are in great condition, many streets are in desperate need of repair. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for a one-cent sales tax increase in Dixon to fund road maintenance and transportation projects in the City?
Based on the current available budget for road repairs, the engineer’s report shows it will cost $15.6 million just to bring roads in Dixon up to a B grade. Does knowing this make you more likely or less likely to vote for a one-cent sales tax increase in Dixon to fund road maintenance and transportation projects in the City?
Regardless of whether you support the tax or not, there are several options for how long the sales tax measure to fund road maintenance and transportation projects in the City would stay in effect. The sales tax measure could be written to give authority to the mayor and city council to cancel the tax at their discretion if the funds are no longer needed or sunset (go away) after 10 years, or after 20 years. Which would you prefer? (editor’s comment – There was NO answer available for “don’t want it at all”)
Regardless of whether you support the tax or not, there are two options for what kind of sales tax is placed on the ballot
1) A special tax would dedicate the new revenues exclusively for road maintenance and transportation projects and the new revenue could not be used for any other City services and requires a two-thirds majority of voters for approval.
2) A general tax could be used to fund road maintenance and transportation projects and also other needs in the City and requires a majority of voters for approval. Which would you prefer?
Here are some statements of two Dixon residents. Please read each statement and decide whom you agree more.
SMITH says: “We need to pass the sales tax increase to avoid deferred maintenance on our roads. Refusing to address the problem now will just mean a more expensive solution in the future.”
JONES says: “We don’t need to raise taxes; the City Council just needs to find other places to cut to free up the money needed for road maintenance and transportation projects in the City.”
With whom do you agree more, SMITH or JONES?
Why would you vote no, against the one-cent sales tax increase?
The City of Dixon currently has a property transfer tax rate of about a half-cent. The property transfer tax is paid for when homes and other real estate is sold within the City. In general, if there were an election today and there was a measure on the ballot to increase the property transfer tax in Dixon from about a half-percent to one-percent, would you vote YES, in favor of the property transfer tax increase, or would you vote NO, against the property transfer tax rate increase?
And finally, for demographic purposes only, which of the following best describes your ethnic background?

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