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MINUTES 2019/10/22 (STUDY SESSION)r# CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION MINUTES y 9T TUESDAY OCTOBER 221, 2019 5:00 P.M. SAN SAN DIMAS COUNCIL CHAMBER DIMAS ?5' �,-- CONFERENCE ROOM 1960 245 E. BONITA AVENUE CITY COUNCIL: Mayor Curtis W. Morris Mayor Pro Tern Ryan A. Vienna Councilmember Emmett Badar Councilmember Denis Bertone Councilmember John Ebiner STAFF: City Manager Ken Duran Assistant City Manager Brad McKinney Director of Public Works Krishna Patel Director of Parks and Recreation Hector Kistemann Interim Director of Community Development Steve Sizemore City Attorney Jeff Malawy City Clerk Debra Black CALL TO ORDER Mayor Morris called the meeting to order at 5:14 pm. ORAL COMMUNICATIONS (For anyone wishing to address the City Council on an item on this agenda. Under the provisions of the Brown Act, the legislative body is prohibited from taking or engaging in discussion on any item not appearing on the posted agenda.) Members of the Audience No comments were made. STUDY SESSION Presentation of the results of the community priorities survey as it relates to a potential sales tax enhancement ballot measure. At the June 11, 2019, City Council Study Session, the Council provided direction to staff to contract with an independent public opinion research company to collect the community's vital input as it pertains to a healthy future financial stability plan and a consideration of a potential sales tax measure. On June 25, 2019 the City Council approved a contract with Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3). City Council Study Session Minutes October 22, 2019 Page 2 In September, FM3 conducting a dual mode, online and telephone (landline and wireless) survey among a sample of San Dimas registered voters. FM3 worked with the City on developing questions and survey methodology to address the City's current and future objectives, needs, and challenges. The Survey featured an average interview length of 20 minutes, which allowed for the questionnaire to include approximately 45-70 unique questions and was translated into Spanish. FM3 have compiled and analyzed the survey results. The purpose of the study session is for the City Council to receive the survey results from FM3 Research, and if it is the desire of the Council, direct staff to provide additional information or take steps towards initiating a sales tax ballot initiative. Consultant Richard Bernard with FM3 explained the structuring of the survey and presented the results to Council and Staff. Overall the results indicate that the community feels the City is moving in the right direction. They determined that the community utilizes the City Newsletter, City Website and Nextdoor Website, City Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to get their City news and information. The community's concept of whether the City needs money fell into the 45% range of those who felt there was a great need or some need. This is a considerably low number for a City looking to move forward on an initiative. It will be important for the City to tell the story of why there is a need for the money. When presented with the hypothetical ballot title and summary, just over half of likely voters initially support the measure. Amer providing educational component, support for the measure goes up substantially and well above threshold needed for passage. With critical statements about the measure were introduced, overall support is above the majority vote threshold for passage, but within the survey's margin of error. The survey results concluded that voters have positive feelings about the direction of the City and the quality of local services. In turn there is only a modest sense that the City needs additional funding and a preference for maintaining current services over improving them. With this insight a 3/ cent sales tax measure is viable for further planning for the March 2020 ballot if the City is able to communicate about the purpose of the measure. Responding to Councilmember Ebiner's question, City Attorney Malawy answered that it would be okay for a candidate to state what areas they would vote to use the funds on. He explained that as long as they were not spending public funds to advocate for the measure, it would be okay to take a position on the measure. Responding to Councilmember Ebiner, Mr. Bernard stated he has seen opposition campaigns come from the community as well as Councilmembers, but it is rare. Responding to Councilmember Badar, Mr. Bernard stated in general it is helpful when there is a unanimous decision. Some people may not agree with a ballot measure, but will agree to allow it to be placed on the ballot for voters to decide. A yes vote doesn't always mean a supportive vote. City Council Study Session Minutes October 22, 2019 Page 3 He shared that the City has a time deficit because, Council has to vote whether to place it on the ballot, then prepare and present the educational component before it is placed on the ballot. Responding to Councilmember Bertone, Mr. Bernard stated that a lot of people use the local control argument to persuade the voters, and it is a good one to make for the people who follow that concept. He outlined some scenarios in which that argument may not matter. City Manager Ken Duran stated that if the Council decides to go move forward with a survey, a communications firm would be hired to put together the educational campaign. He added that if a grassroots effort in community came forward in support, the city would not have a position on that. City Attorney Malawy explained that an individual Councilmember could take a position as the whole body, as long as they do not spend any public resources or money doing so. The educational material the consultant would send out would be factual and not advocacy. Mr. Bernard stressed that the Council's message must be the same and factual. He suggested they think about whether the City should wait two years to tell an elongated story so that the residents aren't shocked, or do they feel it should be put forward now. Mayor Pro Tem Vienna suggested waiting two years. Councilmember Ebiner shared a scenario where the reserves are drawn down even further two years from now and the trajectory would be clearer and make a better argument. Staff s recommendation would be to bring back a resolution to Council at the first meeting in November for review and suggested changes. Responding to Councilmember Badar's questions on budget cutbacks, Mr. Duran replied that staff would be looking at Capital Improvement Projects instead. Mayor Pro Tem Vienna agrees that a story has to be told, and part of that story is looking at hiring an auditor or someone else to come in and validate the $5 million. structural budget deficit by examining and projecting out where we will be. This should be done first, so that it isn't just staff telling the story and to add some weight behind the claim. He stated that he is not comfortable having to tell the story based off of the methodology of the survey presented (the numbers are not strong enough) and the amount of effort that would be needed during a general election. He agrees with Councilmember Ebiner in waiting two years to organize, get the evidence and then tell the story. He added that there isn't enough trust amongst this Council to be able to vote on this and carry it forth into the community. Councilmember Bertone is in favor of having the item on the ballot. Councilmember Badar stated he sees the need for this, but isn't sure that this Council is in agreement and based on the presentation the numbers aren't strong. City Council Study Session Minutes October 22, 2019 Page 4 Council, staff and Mr. Bernard continued discussing the reasons to move forward or to hold off putting this item on the ballot. Resident Patrick Jones shared with the Council if they were to do nothing and things do get worse financially, they won't be any better off and will be in a worse position. Councilmember Ebiner clarified that his earlier statements were strategic points of what might work; but if he got the sense that all of Council were on behind the effort he would support moving forward. Mayor Pro Tem Vienna stated he would be willing to entertain moving forward. Mayor Morris acknowledged that the City ought to do this, and he is willing to support it by educating the community on why this is needed. He shared that he has been with the City when there was no money and the services and value that can be provided to the residents are a lot less. City Manager Duran summarized that there appeared to be a consensus to bring back a resolution to place this on the ballot at the first meeting in November. City Attorney Malawy stated that he, his staff and the consultant will present a draft resolution with language for a ballot title and at that time the Council could request modifications. Mr. Duran indicated that he and the Assistant City Manager have meetings set for Thursday with consultants for the educational component. He added that the cost of this contract is within his signing authority, and he will be able to start the selection process. ADJOURNMENT The meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m. Debra Black, City Clerk Emmett G. Badar, Mayor Approved April 28th, 2020