Saturday, May 18, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
January 15, 2013
INDEPENDENCE -- A majority of Independence citizens would support a bond measure the city might need to stave off layoffs during the next fiscal year, according to a scientific phone survey.
Officials commissioned Bend-based DRC Research to conduct a phone survey of registered voters to determine how residents feel about city decision making and about paying higher taxes to resolve financial shortfalls.
There are 3,653 voters in Independence. The firm attempted to contact 2,353 of those with identified phone numbers during a two-week window in mid-December.
Thirteen percent -- 298 -- completed the survey. Forty-three percent of numbers contacted were disconnected, 24 percent did not answer the phone and 8 percent refused to participate, according to results.
The key questions revolved around how respondents would help the city in resolving its financial problems.
Forty-two percent said they would support refinancing existing debt through a bond while 25 percent said they would prefer further service reductions.
Asked whether they back a bond measure to consolidate and refinance the city's current debt, 52 percent said yes, 32 percent opposed it and 16 percent said they were undecided. Nineteen percent didn't reveal their answer.
"What we got from the survey was very useful," City Manager David Clyne said. "Most residents preferred the bond approach compared to just cuts."
City Council will vote in March whether to refer a bond measure onto the Polk County Clerk's Office; it still has to wait for the development of budgets that show what spending will be with and without revenue from a tax levy.
The survey and results from upcoming public forums will figure into its decision, Clyne said.
"For all intents and purposes, it looks as if (a bond) is the direction we'll be proceeding," Clyne said.
* Citizens who didn't take part in the original survey by phone but still want to participate can do so via the city's website at www.ci.independence.or.us.
* Independence will host public forums regarding its budget problems and a proposed bond in the coming weeks. The first event will take place Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m. at the Independence Civic Center's event center, 555 S. Main St. For more information: 503-838-1212.
How respondents have answered the questions ...
* Asked whether the city was using tax dollars wisely -- 15 percent of respondents said "poor," 23 percent said "fair," and all but 2 percent of the rest said "good" or better.
* On making good decisions for the future of the city -- 13 percent said "poor," 20 percent said "fair," 3 percent said they couldn't answer, and the rest said "good" or better.
* On "yes or no" questions regarding helping the city solve its financial problems -- 25 percent of respondents said they would support more service cuts, 36 percent said they would approve higher fees, 41 percent said they would back a combination of cuts and fees, and 42 percent said they would support refinancing city debt through a bond measure.
* When respondents were told that a bond measure to consolidate and refinance city debt would save $300,000 annually, 57 percent said they would be more likely to support the bond and 25 percent said they would be less likely.