On November 15, the Infrastructure Funding Committee held its final meeting to review the results of a voter survey and discuss recommendations for the City Council. Their report will be presented to Council at their December 4th meeting.
Survey of Likely Voters
To gauge voter attitudes towards current City services and funding needs, the City commissioned EMC Research to conduct a detailed survey of likely voters. Sara LaBatt from EMC Research presented the survey findings, which explored voter opinions on the City's direction, key services, primary concerns, and potential revenue solutions for infrastructure needs.
The findings revealed a general optimism among voters about Mill Valley's trajectory, focusing on concerns such as housing, traffic congestion, and wildfire risk. While there was recognition of the need for infrastructure maintenance, there was limited awareness of the City's specific needs.
Discussion of Recommendations to Council
The committee then discussed the potential revenue options they would likely recommend to Council, particularly comparing the merits and drawbacks of a Sales Tax versus a Transfer Tax. Considerations included required voter thresholds, projected tax revenue, and tax rates. They discussed the impact on community members, including low- and fixed-income residents, homeowners versus renters, and local businesses. The committee also examined possible effects on housing costs, the potential shift from a General Law to a Charter City, and alignment with the City's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Committee conducted a thorough evaluation of the options to ensure that the chosen tax measures not only meet the City’s financial needs but also align with the City's values and commitment to modern, safe, and well-maintained facilities and infrastructure.
At the end of the meeting, the Committee reached a consensus that their recommendation to the Council would be to propose two options to explore further: a Transfer Tax and a Sales Tax, with a majority of members expressing a preference for a Transfer Tax. Additionally, the Committee agreed to recommend that the Council conduct a detailed survey to further assess voter sentiment.
Mayor Urban Carmel, Vice Mayor Stephen Burke, and City Manager Todd Cusimano expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the Study Committee members for their dedicated service to the City. Additionally, they extended thanks to Chair Jim Parrinello and Co-Chair Jerry Cahill for their deft leadership, diligent work, and key insights within the committee.
Recommendations to Council December 4, 2023
Committee Chairs and staff are currently preparing a report and recommendations for presentation to the City Council at their meeting on December 4. The report will detail the City’s infrastructure issues, projected repair costs, and the committee’s process for vetting funding mechanisms. It will detail the Study Committee’s recommendations to Council and suggested next steps.
Community members are encouraged to attend the upcoming meeting. Please join us on Monday, December 4 at 5:30 pm in Council Chambers and via webcast.
Learn more about the Infrastructure Funding Study Committee here.