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Wood, Plass Tapped for Tax Feasibility Survey Subcommittee

Healdsburg hires Santa Monica survey firm to work with subcommittee to design survey.

Healdsburg Vice Mayor Gary Plass and City Councilman Jim Wood will serve on a new subcommittee to help design a

Healdsburg City Manager Marjie Pettus said earlier this week she selected Santa Monica-based Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates or FM3 out of

FM3, which specializes in municipal projects and has capability to create polls in Spanish, has a $22,000 base contract for a standard telephone survey.

"If the Council decides they want to poll in Spanish or use a web-based survey mechanism in addition to the telephone poll, there will be additional charges," Pettus said. "Because I don’t yet know what 'extras' the Council wants, I provided the estimate of $25,000."

Fees proposed by all seven companies ranged from $12,330 to $37,363, but Pettus said the least expensive proposals were "not fair bids" because they didn't cover the required services.

"I'm really pleased to see that you selected FM3," Wood said at Monday's City Council meeting.

"I'm familiar with their work, and they do a huge variety of surveys," Wood said. "Their work quality is good."

Wood and Plass volunteered to work with FM3 staff and Healdsburg city staff to create some type of poll for an election ballot next year -- likely November 2012.

In addition, all five councilmembers said they will submit to Pettus a written statement of their suggestions on what questions they would like to include, what type of tax issue they would prefer to address and other survey design recommendations.

"I want to make clear that you may each submit your recommendations to City Manager Pettus, but you are not to discuss them with each other," said Healdsburg City Attorney Mike Gogna. "Your written recommendations will become part of the public record."

Possible changes might include:

--re-allocating revenue from the Transient Occupancy Tax, or hotel room tax, to pay more for city services;

--increasing the sales tax by a quarter percent.

Plass said he wanted to make sure that the survey was straightforward, clear and unbiased.

"We don't want this survey to push or pull in any (preconceived) direction," Plass said. "We don't want to give the appearance that we're swaying the answer in one way or the other."

Wood said he would make it a point to include an explanation to citizens about why a tax change is necessary in terms of the

Despite extensive belt-tightening, to make budget. Officials warned during the budget processs that using reserves to balance the budget was not sustainable over the long term.

 

 

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