Survey, meetings ask which services are most valued in community

Faced with an $8 million shortfall within the next two years, Daly City officials are asking residents for guidance on which city services should be cut and which spared.

As a result of the economic downturn, cities nationwide are facing financial hardships, said City Manager Pat Martel.

Daly City is expecting to have to make up to $8 million in cuts in the next two budget cycles, according to Martel. The city’s total budget is $98 million.

Rather than cut without input, the city created a survey — which they’ve mailed and posted online — asking residents to rank city services and programs.

“We don’t want to arbitrarily cut services,” Martel said. “So we want to find out what the community sees has high priority and what they are willing to trade off.”

Daly City also sent out a newsletter to residents, outlining its expenditures, revenues and budget process.

The survey asks residents to rank factors that are important in evaluating the quality of life in Daly City; to rate such amenities and services as fire, police, drinking water quality, street and sidewalk maintenance, graffiti removal and code enforcement; and asks which programs — from libraries to affordable housing — are most important.

Public safety, such as police and fire, are often at the top of residents’ priority lists, Martel said.

Residents have a few weeks to complete the survey; Martel said she hopes to have a report to the City Council on the findings by the end of the month.
The city is also holding community meetings to discuss the survey and obtain citizen feedback, Martel said.

This is not the first time Daly City has attempted to survey residents, but Martel said she is hoping for a better outcome this time around.

Roughly 105,000 people reside in Daly City, according to the 2000 census, but only 100 people responded to a similar survey conducted four years ago, Martel said.

Daly City resident Marc Sagum said he moved to the city because of the lower cost of housing and the fact that it’s “more residential” compared to San Francisco. Traffic has become a concern, however.

“We still need to get to work,” he said.

Citizen counsel

Daly City is inviting residents to participate in community meetings to discuss what they think the city’s budget priorities should be.

Community meetings:

Today
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Gellert Clubhouse
50 Wembley Drive

Tuesday, Oct. 20
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
War Memorial Community Center
6655 Mission St.

Saturday, Oct. 31
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Larcombe Clubhouse
99 Lake Merced Blvd.

 

akoskey@sfexaminer.com
 

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