Burlingame considers a capital bond issue

Voters would be willing to support a bond measure to pay for capital projects such as storm drain improvements if the yearly assessment stayed around $150 to $175, according to survey results released Wednesday.

The survey of 600 registered Burlingame voters by San Francisco-based SA Opinion Research, hired by the city in January, found that voters might support a bond of approximately $45 million over the next 30 years.

Those surveyed want the city to focus on improving storm drains, increasing disaster preparedness and revamping the Washington Park recreation center, among other projects, according to Jon Kaufman, executive vice president of SA Opinion Research.

Public Works Director George Bagdon said the identified list of voter priorities is similar to city staff priorities, particularly the storm drain improvements.

It would cost $110 million to complete all the projects on the city’s wish list.

A bond that size would cause a $330 yearly increase in property taxes for the median city homeowner.

About 61 percent of those surveyed supported up to a $200 yearly assessment, but a bond measure needs to pass by a two-thirds majority.

An overwhelming 79 percent of the survey participants would support a $100 annual assessment, so the surveyors concluded that an assessment of $150 to $175 would be low enough to gain voter support.

The City Council has until June 19 to decide whether to put a bond measure on the November ballot, after evaluating how much an election will cost and whether the city can get the word out to voters in less than six months.

Councilwoman Rosalie O’Mahony said that because the November election is expected to have higher-than-expected turnout for a mid-term vote, she wants to push to get the ballots out this year instead of waiting until the next presidential election, when turnout will again be relatively high.

tramroop@examiner.com

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