By the Daily Post staff
A pollster hired by the city has found that Palo Altans won’t support a parcel tax or a sales tax to fund the city’s infrastructure, including a new police station.
An increase in the hotel tax — now at 14% — is the only measure that drew solid support in the poll.
The poll also found that a growing number of residents feel the city is on the wrong track compared to two years ago.
When asked, “Would you say that things in Palo Alto are generally headed in the right direction, or do you feel things are pretty seriously off on the wrong track,” 37% said wrong track compared to 25% in 2016.
Those who said the city was headed in the right direction fell from 61% to 43%.
The increasing number of people feel their city is on the wrong track is a “trend common in recent months for Bay Area cities facing increasing challenges like housing costs and traffic congestion,” said the pollsters, Dave Metz and Miranda Everitt of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates or FM3.
They polled 1,191 likely Palo Alto voters via phone and email between March 23 and April 2, and the margin of error was 4%.
The poll also found that 60% of residents felt the city was doing a good or excellent job providing services to residents, down from 74% in 2016.
City Council has a list of infrastructure projects it hopes to fund. They include a new police station at 250 Sherman Ave. in the California Avenue district, replacing a parking lot across from the courthouse. The cost of the station has grown from $57 million in 2012 to an estimated $92.2 million.
Other projects on the list include a bicycle-pedestrian bridge over Highway 101, street improvements for bicyclists, changes to the Charleston-Arastradero Road corridor, improvements to Byxbee Park, a parking garage at 350 Sherman Ave, a downtown parking garage and replacement of two fire stations.
The survey found that only 40% of residents supported a parcel tax, and that figure dropped to 34% when the pollster read the respondent arguments for and against such a tax.
Residents also don’t want to raise the sales tax, which is now at 9%. Just 27% supported such a tax, which dropped to 26% when respondents heard pro and con arguments.
There was slightly more support, 53%, for a tax on real estate transactions. But when respondents were read pro and con arguments, that support slipped to 47%.
About the only tax that looked promising for city officials is raising the hotel tax, which now is at 14% after voters increased it by 2 percentage points in 2014.
An increase in the hotel tax — which is largely paid by visitors to the city — was supported by 61%, a figure that fell to 58% when respondents heard arguments on both sides.
According to data supplied by FM3, the only cities in the state with a hotel tax higher than 14% are Garden Grove (14.5%) and Anaheim (15%), the home of Disneyland.
City Council’s Finance Committee will discuss the poll Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.