Survey: San Bruno may back bond issue

Voters would most likely support a bond issue to fund a desperately needed library — the city’s second stab at one — if their property values did not increase by more than $32 per $100,000 of assessed value annually, according to research results presented Wednesday.

Residents and officials alike have been saying for years that a new library is essential, as the city has severely outgrown its current one, built in 1956 and lacking many basic, modern amenities like Internet-ready computers. Before moving too far forward with planning for the new facility, the city wanted to determine if San Bruno residents would help to pay for it.

In April, the city retained a pollster to ask San Bruno residents what projects they would pay for — via parcel tax, bond issue or other public financing mechanism — and how much they would pay for them. The library is at the top of this list of projects.

The survey of 600 randomly selected San Bruno voters this spring gauged how supportive these residents would be of a bond measure — which would increase property taxes — or sales tax increase in order to fund the new library.

The good news is that nearly 63 percent of those surveyed use the city’scurrent library, located at 701 Angus Ave. The not-so-good news is that only 60.4 percent would definitely or probably support a $40 million bond measure, which is quite a bit shy of the required two-thirds majority it would need to pass. In order to reach 67 percent acceptance, property taxes could go up no higher than $32 annually per property, according to the results.

A half-cent sales tax increase was more acceptable to the voters surveyed, garnering 73.4 percent of support.

The current library houses less than a dozen computers and has several structural problems, including non-compliance with federal disability regulations and cracking walls, Terry Jackson said.

In a perfect world, the city says it would have a two-story library, construction on which would start in March 2009 and completion by 2011. The project, in 2009 dollars, would cost anywhere between $34 million and $51 million, Jackson said.

Officials have said that the failed measure taught them some key lessons. Among other problems, a lack of specifics about a proposed spot on San Mateo Avenue contributed to the loss.

The San Bruno City Council approved the survey in March, commissioning Half Moon Bay-based Godbe Research, to gather and compile the results.

tramroop@examiner.com


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