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Trails Tax Measure Feasability Study AGENDA ITEM TOWN OF e• e B3 f� fn °rP°t MEETING DATE: December 10, 2013 TO: Honorable Mayor& Councilmembers FROM: Dan Wilkins, Public Works Director/Town Engineer SUBJECT: Trail Tax MeasureFeasikility Study Presentation _Approved by: I,, Tony Lashbrook, Town Manager RECOMMENDATION: Accept Trails Tax Measure Feasibility Study and provide direction to staff regarding potential trail funding ballot measure as outlined in this staff report. DISCUSSION: Since the adoption of the Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan in 2002, the Town has been successful in constructing various bike paths and bike lanes within the Town limits. In particular, approximately 14 miles of Class I bike paths have been constructed in the Town, not including Phase 3B of the Legacy Trail which is currently under construction.Approximately seven (7) miles of Class I trails have been constructed by the Town of Truckee using local funds,grants, or mitigation funds from private development. In addition,approximately seven(7)miles of Class I trails have been constructed by private development projects, such as Grays Crossing, Old Greenwood, the Pine Forest Subdivision, and the Pioneer Commerce Center. While the Town has been generally successful in trail development, it is not reasonable to assume the same level of success can be maintained in years to come without the provision of additional funding for the following reasons: 1. While private development is responsible for approximately half of the Class I trail construction within the Town to date,the level of development activity has reduced in recent years and is expected to remain relatively low. In addition, aside from the Joerger Ranch (PC-3), Hilltop, and Coldstream(PC-1) Developments,there is limited likelihood of additional significant privately-funded trail construction and maintenance activity in the future. 2. To date,the trails that have been constructed have been of lower complexity in terms of right of way and design than is likely to be the case with future trail projects.The Trout Creek Trail and Phase 4 of the Truckee River Legacy Trail, for example, will be more challenging to construct with steep terrain and bridges over the Truckee River and Trout Creek, thereby making them more expensive on a per mile basis than other trails which have already been constructed. 3. The Town has been extremely successful in acquiring third-party grants to construct trail Town Council Staff Report Pagel AGENDA ITEM projects, but this success cannot be relied upon to continue. For example, Phase 3B of the Truckee River Legacy Trail is being funded with a River Parkways grant, for which it was eligible due to its proximity to the Truckee River. The Brockway Road Trail was successful in acquiring Bicycle Transportation Account funds because it was a relatively low cost trail that connected two existing Class I facilities. The SR 89 Mousehole project has been able to leverage federal and state funds because of its regional importance and inclusion in the SR 89 highway system.The continued success of the Town in receiving these types of funds in the future is highly uncertain. 4. As the Town continues to construct trails,the maintenance costs associated with those trails continues to increase. Decisions to construct additional trails will need to be carefully weighted against the ability of the Town to fund ongoing maintenance. A trail funding mechanism would allow for expedited implementation of the Town trail network and a coordinated maintenance approach. As such, on August 27, 2013 the Council authorized the execution of a contract with TBWB Strategies to perform public interest polling for a potential local trails maintenance and construction funding source. The polling effort occurred in October and November of this year through an online survey supplemented with phone calls to potential voters. The results of the polling effort, as well as an analysis of potential outcomes to a ballot measure, are summarized in the attached Trails Tax Measure Feasibility Study (Attachment 3). Charles Health of TBWB Strategies will present the results of the polling effort at the Council meeting, but key findings are summarized below: • Support by likely voters for a trail construction and maintenance funding sales tax measure is between 63% and 67%. Support varies depending upon whether an election occurs in June or November,with higher support level for a November election. Note that a 2/3 vote in favor of a sales tax would be required to pass the measure. • If the measure passed, using the funds for the completion of the Truckee River Legacy Trail, Safe Routes to School, and trail maintenance received the strongest community support. • There is relatively little difference in support levels for a 1/8-cent sales tax compared to a 1/4-cent sales tax. • A 1/8-cent sales tax increase will generate approximately $500,000 a year and a 1/4-cent sales tax increase will generate approximately $1 million a year. • Protecting the environmental and natural open space, improving the local economy, and maintaining local property values are also issues that are very important to those polled. Based upon the results of the polling effort, the passage of a sales tax measure to fund trails appears possible but not necessarily assured.Therefore, a key question for the Council to consider is whether to continue consideration of a sales tax measure to fund trails. The benefits associated with such a measure include the ability to improve summer and/or winter trail maintenance and a higher rate of implementation of new trails. However, these benefits need to be carefully weighed against the potential impacts associated with a higher sales tax within the Town of Truckee. The decision to pursue a trail funding measure needs to consider the following factors: 1. Availability of information to support a ballot measure — Currently, the Town has several sources of information which will be useful in developing a ballot measure including the Town Capital Improvement Project(CIP) budget,the 2012 Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan, preliminary trail maintenance cost estimates, and information regarding Public Work's maintenance expenses such as vegetation removal, pavement patching, sweeping, and snow Town Council Staff Report Page 2 AGENDA ITEM removal. Town Planning staff recently initiated an effort to update the Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan. This update will include a significant public outreach component and an updated prioritized list of trail and bikeway facilities (which has not been substantially altered since the original plan adoption in 2002). The updated plan will also contain costs for proposed trail facilities and a comprehensive discussion of benefits and costs associated with different maintenance levels in the summer and/or winter. The plan update is scheduled to be complete by June 2014,with a draft available in May of 2014 and most technical information compiled in March of 2014. 2. Public stakeholder involvement — A sales tax measure would be of interest to many stakeholders in the Town, including the Truckee Trails Foundation,Truckee Donner Land Trust, Our Truckee River Legacy Foundation, Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, Mountain Area Preservation, Truckee River Watershed Council,Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors, and the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association. Typically, the Town would reach out to these stakeholders and involve them in the process of deciding whether, and potentially how, to pursue a ballot measure and the development of the ballot language. It is worth noting that the Truckee business community would be directly affected by this measure because they would be responsible for collecting the increased tax and could be concerned that an increased tax rate would negatively affect the local business climate.A ballot measure would benefit from a significant outreach effort to this business and stakeholder community. 3. Evaluation of other potential uses of sales tax funds —The Town may want to consider a measure that would set aside a portion of a sales tax increment for non-trail expenditures to address other priorities of the community identified in the poll. 4. Potential competing ballot measures—The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District(TTUSD) recently conducted polling to test support for a potential property tax based bond measure to fund facility and technology improvements.The results indicated that a bond measure would not likely be successful in a June 2014 election but could be successful in a November 2014 election. The school board has not decided whether to pursue a bond measure at this time but has indicated that if a measure is pursued it would be in November 2014. In addition, the 1/8 cent sales tax measure dedicated to Nevada County Library services is set to expire in 2016 and it is not known at this time whether Nevada County plans to propose a measure to extend the tax.These are the only two potential competing ballot measures under discussion of which staff is aware, but there may be others. 5. Ability of third party advocacy groups to effectively organize—The Town of Truckee cannot function in an advocacy role for any sales tax measure and the advocacy role must be provided by private groups. While the Truckee Trails Foundation has indicated that they believe such an advocacy group could be organized (separate from the Trails Foundation itself), staff does not know the level of organization that currently exists. Assuming the Council would like to continue considering a sales tax measure,the next decision that must be made is whether or not to consider a ballot measure for the June 3, 2014 election, as opposed to a future election date. The timelines and approaches between these two options vary significantly. Things to consider for each of these options are outlined below and are summarized in Table A (Attachment 1). Potential timelines for a June 2014 and November 2014 election are provided in Attachment 2. Town Council Staff Report Page 3 AGENDA ITEM June 3, 2014 Election (Option 1) Timeline • December 10,2013: Council to decide whether to continue consideration of a June 3,2014 election. • December 10, 2013 -January 7, 2014: Staff meets with interest groups and the business community.At a minimum,there would be one meeting to introduce the concept of the sales tax measure. • January 14, 2014: Council to decide whether to pursue a ballot measure for the June 3, 2014 election. • January 14 — January 21, 2014: Assuming the Council decides to pursue the measure, staff would develop the language for the ballot measure, as well as the adopting resolution. • January 28, 2014: Council adopt ballot resolution. • January 29,2014: Deadline for the Council to request Nevada County place a measure on the June 3, 2014 ballot. • January 29, 2014—June 3, 2014: Third party advocacy efforts. • June 3, 2014: Election. Discussion The advantages and disadvantages of this approach are discussed below and summarized in Table A. 1. Availability of information to support ballot measure—A June 2014 ballot measure would not have the benefit of relying on information in the yet to be completed 2014 Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan update. It would instead rely on information that is currently available, such as the CIP budget, the current Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan, and current expenditure estimates. In general, the degree of specificity of how funds generated by a ballot measure would be used will be lower as a result of the timeline associated with a June ballot measure. 2. Public stakeholder involvement—Because of the aggressive schedule associated with a June 2014 ballot, stakeholder involvement would occur in a relatively rushed manner during the coming holiday season. In particular, the development of the ballot language would be completed primarily by staff with limited review opportunity for stakeholders.This schedule would also constrain the outreach to the business community, which could result in unnecessarily alienating some business owners. The ability of the different parties to form an opinion on the pros and cons of this type of measure will be constrained by the relatively tight time frame coinciding with the holiday season. It should also be noted that this accelerated outreach approach is different from past successful efforts by the Town and others to pass ballot Town Council Staff Report Page 4 AGENDA ITEM measures, such as Measure A, Measure V, and Measure C (Tahoe Forest Hospital). 3. Evaluation of other potential uses of sales tax funds — Because of the short timeframe, it would be difficult to evaluate whether or not making the sales tax measure eligible for uses beyond trails would be appropriate. If provisions for other uses were to be included,they would not likely be well defined or developed. 4. Potential competing ballot measures—A June 2014 ballot measure would not likely compete with other local ballot measures on the same election. 5. Ability of third party advocacy groups to effectively organize-This schedule will constrain the ability for separate political advocacy committees to gather enough support and resources to lead an effort to support a funding measure. 6. Other Issues to Consider-Under this option, staff would need to spend significant resources in the next six weeks on tasks such as compiling project and cost information, meeting with stakeholders, and developing ballot language in a short time frame. As such, work on existing Engineering Capital Improvement Projects(CIPs)would need to be delayed to provide the staff time necessary to pursue the aggressive schedule outlined above. The Mousehole and Trout Creek Restoration (Reach 1, Phase 1) Projects, in particular, would be impacted, which could also put the grant funding associated with those projects in jeopardy. November 4, 2014 (or Later) Election (Option 2) Timeline • December 10, 2013: Council to direct staff to continue to consider a November 4, 2014(or later) ballot measure. • December 10, 2013 — February 18, 2014: Staff meets with interest groups to determine whether there is interest in evaluating and potentially participating in the development of a ballot measure. • February 25, 2014: Council to decide whether to continue to consider a ballot measure for the November 4, 2014 election, or a later date. • March 2014: Technical, cost, and project prioritization efforts for Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan are completed (but not yet adopted). • March - June, 2014: Assuming the Council decides to pursue a November measure, a steering committee would be formed consisting of public members and key stakeholders. This committee would assist in developing the proposed ballot and structure for the ballot measure and the adopting resolution. Should Council decide to delay beyond November of 2014, the timing of the steering committee work would be delayed accordingly. • May 2014: Draft Trails and Bikeways Master Plan Update is completed. • June 2014: Final Draft Trails and Bikeways Master Plan Update is completed. • June 24, 2014: Council adopts ballot resolution. Town Council Staff Report Page 5 AGENDA ITEM • July 2, 2014: Deadline for the Council to request Nevada County place a measure on the June 3, 2014 ballot. • July 2, 2014— November 4, 2014: Third party advocacy efforts. • November 4, 2014: Election. Discussion 1. Availability of information to support ballot measure — A November 2014 or later ballot measure would have the benefit of relying on information generated by the pending 2014 Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan update. This will also allow for more public input regarding capital construction and maintenance priorities and allow for a higher degree of specificity in how the sales tax funds are intended to be used. 2. Public stakeholder involvement— This schedule will allow for a public outreach effort that would allow stakeholder involvement in the decision of how, and if,to pursue a measure without creating undue pressure within the stakeholder process. This would be consistent with the approach used in past successful measures within the Town. 3. Evaluation of other potential uses of sales tax funds—This schedule would allow more time to consider the pros and cons of increasing the allowable uses of the sales tax measure beyond only trail related uses. 4. Potential competing ballot measures —A November 2014 ballot measure could potentially compete with a TTUSD bond measure, should TTUSD chose to pursue such a measure. 5. Ability of third party advocacy groups to effectively organize - A November 2014 ballot measure will allow more time for a separate political advocacy committee to gather support and resources. 6. Other Issues to Consider — A November 2014 or later ballot measure will not be overly impactful to other ongoing priorities. CONCLUSIONS: Based upon the information presented above and in the attachments, the following conclusions may be drawn: • Based upon the polling, there is support among approximately two thirds of the Truckee voter population for a sales tax measure to fund trail construction and maintenance,which is equivalent to the proportion of support that is required to pass a measure. • Based upon the level of support within the community, staff believes it is appropriate for the Town to continue consideration of a sales tax increase to fund trail construction and maintenance. • According to the polling, as of today, a sales tax measure on the June 2014 election would not pass as there is only 63% support of likely voters for such a ballot measure in that election. As a result, a June 2014 election would require a strong and organized advocacy effort to be successful. • At this time, it is uncertain as to what levels of funding and organization may exist within Town Council Staff Report Page 6 AGENDA ITEM potential third party advocacy groups. • A June 2014 ballot measure would not allow for the same level of public and stakeholder involvement in the ballot initiative development process as has been the case with prior successful Town ballot initiatives. • A June 2014 ballot initiative would not likely compete with other local ballot measures. • Based upon the polling, a trails sales tax measure has 67% support in the November 2014 election, although there would be an increased likelihood of concurrent ballot measures within the November 2014 election, which could reduce voter support. • Pursuing a June 2014 ballot date would have a negative effect on other active Town projects due to the internal workload reprioritization that would be necessary to pursue a June election. • Given that the existing support for the trails sales tax measure is roughly equivalent to the proportion of voter support that would be required to pass a trails sales tax measure, a strong and well-organized advocacy group would be essential to the passage of such a measure, regardless of when it is placed on the ballot. REQUESTED COUNCIL DIRECTION: Staff recommends the Council review and accept the Trails Tax Measure Feasibility Study and provide staff direction regarding a potential trail funding ballot measure. In particular, staff requests direction on the following: 1. Does the Council want to continue consideration of a sales tax ballot measure to fund trail construction, maintenance, and/or possibly other publicly desired uses? 2. If so, does the Council want to continue consideration of a sales tax ballot measure for the June 3, 2014 election or, alternatively, for a future election? FISCAL IMPACT: Approval of a %-cent sales tax measure dedicated to trails construction and maintenance would generate approximately$1 million per year in dedicated funding for trail related activities. This funding would significantly improve the rate at which the Town can construct trails and the Town's ability to maintain trails on a regular basis. PUBLIC COMMUNICATION:The Council subcommittee for this project has met three times.These meetings included an initial meeting with the polling consultants, the review of the draft polling survey, and a review of the preliminary survey results. The meetings included Councilmembers, staff, and representatives from the Truckee Trails Foundation. ATTACHMENTS Attachment 1 —Table A: Trails Tax Measure Potential Election Dates Analysis Attachment 2—Truckee Sales Tax Measure Timelines Attachment 3—Trails Tax Measure Feasibility Study (TBWB Strategies) Town Council Staff Report Page 7 TABLE A: Trails Tax Measure Potential Election Dates Analysis Potential Ballot Measure Election Date Issue June 3, 2014 Election November 4, 2014 or later 1 Availability of information to support Less specific and reliant on existing policy and More specific and reliant on information from ballot measure budget documents. pending 2014 Truckee Trails and Bikeways Master Plan. 2 Public stakeholder involvement Very accelerated stakeholder involvement. Allows public outreach and stakeholder Approach inconsistent with past ballot measure involvement consistent with past Town efforts. efforts by the Town. 3 Evaluation of other potential uses of Difficult to evaluate the pros and cons of Allows more time to consider the pros and cons sales tax funds expanding the flexibility of the measure. Any of expanding flexibility of the measure. Should expansion of flexibility would be generic. the measure be expanded beyond trails, allows for more specificity in use of funds. 4 Potential competing ballot measures Not likely to compete with other local ballot Could potentially compete with the TTUSD bond measures. or other measures (unknown). 5 Ability of third party advocacy groups This schedule would constrain the time for Would allow more time for separate political to effectively organize separate political advocacy committees to form advocacy committees to form and develop and develop support and resources. support and resources. 6 Other Issues to Consider Work on CIPs such as the SR 89 Mousehole Not overly impactful to other ongoing priorities. and Trout Creek Restoration (Reach 1, Phase 1) would need to be delayed. D r+ a� n CD r+ N Town of Truckee Trails Sales Tax • • June 20141 reline Poo 7-N_ - Likely Voters Registered Voters: 8,438 Unlikely Voters Expected Voter Tunout: 3,627 (43%) Votes Needed to Win: 2,420 (66.7%) Build . Feasibility Study Build Consensu3 000/0 00000 Strong . 1� �-I Ir B m17 . Day i 4 Poll 4 Political landscape FBallot solution Private fundraising Phone banks i -+ Election timing 4 Competing issues uestion Direct mail Lawn signs f D 4 Tax rate 4 Potential controversy ocacy communication Website GOTV 4 Programs us building Endorsements vote � ID N Town of Truckee Trails Sales Tax Measure November 2014 Timeline Unlikely Voters Registered Voters: 8,438 (33%) Likely Voters Expected Voter Tunout: 5,616 (67%) Votes Needed to Win: 3,746 (66.7%) Build a �Y p •a i i Consensus Strong Measure 110 ' r, ' I _------ate----�------- FElection -� Political landscape Write resolution Private fundraising Phone banks timing 4 Competing issue s 4 Ballot question Direct mail Lawn signs 4 Potential controversy 4 Non-advocacy communication a Website � GOTV s 4 Consensus building Endorsements -+ Council vote °^..., I •4 m n 77 Attachment 3 �d TRAILS TAX MEASURE FEASIBILITY STUDY • DRAFT SURVEY REPORT , T PREPARED FOR THE TOWN OF TRUCKEE r' (NOVEMBER 27, 2013 RU E N O R T H 741 GARDEN VIEW COURT,SUITE 208 �T ENCINITAS CA 92024 R E S E A R C H ( 760.632.9900 WWW.TN-RESEARCH.COM S T R A T E G I E S 10"I'l T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Table of Contents. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i Listof Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii Listof Figures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iii Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Motivation for Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Overview of Methodology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Organization of Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Disclaimer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 About True North. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 justthe Facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Importance of Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Initial Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Positive Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Interim Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Negative Arguments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Final Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Conclusions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Importance of Issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Initial Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Support by Subgroups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Support at 1/8 Percent Tax Rate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Reasons for Opposing Measure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Question4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Projects & Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Spending Project Ratings by Subgroup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Positive Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Positive Arguments by Initial Support. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Interim Ballot Test. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Question7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Support by Subgroups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Negative Arguments . . . . . . : . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Question8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Negative Arguments by Initial Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Final Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Question . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Changein Support. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Background & Demographics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Methodology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Questionnaire Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Programming & Pre-Test. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Sample, Recruiting & Data Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Statistical Margin of Error. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Data Processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Rounding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Questionnaire & Toplines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 L I S T O F T A B L E S Table 1 Demographic Breakdown of Support at Initial Ballot Test. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 Table 2 Top Projects & Programs by Position at Initial Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Table 3 Top Positive Arguments by Position at Initial Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Table 4 Demographic Breakdown of Support at Interim Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Table 5 Negative Arguments by Position at Initial Ballot Test. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Table 6 Demographic Breakdown of Support at Final Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Table 7 Movement Between Initial & Final Ballot Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Table 8 Demographics of Sample . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 L I S T O F F I G U R E S Figure 1 Importance of Issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Figure 2 Initial Ballot Test. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Figure 3 Initial Ballot Test at One-Eight Percent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Figure 4 Reasons For Not Supporting Measure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Figure 5 Projects & Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Figure 6 Positive Arguments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Figure 7 Interim Ballot Test. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Figure 8 Negative Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Figure 9 Final Ballot Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Figure 10 Maximum Margin of Error Due to Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 N T R O D U C T I ON Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains just west of the Nevada state line, the Town of Truckee is currently home to an estimated 15,918 residents.' Established in 1863 and incorporated in 1993, the Town of Truckee's team of full- and part-time employees provides a full suite of municipal services including administrative services,.community development, public works and engineering, and police services. In addition to being a residential and economic hub for the region, Truckee is a popular vacation destination drawing visitors, tourists and second home- owners to the area for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. Truckee is surrounded by natural open spaces, lakes and streams, and a variety of active and passive recreational opportunities. These amenities help to promote a strong sense of commu- nity, improve property values, enhance the business climate and local economy, and generally contribute to a higher quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Trails are the primary means of making these amenities accessible to residents and visitors. As noted in the Town of Truckee's Trails and Bikeways Master Plan, "Trails offer numerous aesthetic and recreational opportunities, as well as commuter options for walking, hiking, bicycling, skating or otherwise traveling to and from community destinations. Residents desiring to bicycle or walk to work, go for a family bicycle ride or walk to the park or library, enjoy a longer outing to and around Don- ner Lake or along the Truckee River, or simply take pleasure in walking will benefit from new trails". The primary purpose of this study was to produce an unbiased, statistically reliable evaluation of voters' interest in supporting a local sales tax mea- sure to fund the creation, repair and maintenance of local trails, improve public access to natural open space, and provide safe routes to schools for local school children. In addition to assessing the feasibility of such measure, the survey was designed to identify how to structure the mea- sure so that it is consistent with the community's priorities and expressed needs. Toward this end, the study was designed to: Measure current, baseline support for a local sales tax measure for trails and related pur- poses Identify the tax rate that the community is willing to support Identify the types of services and capital improvements that voters are most interested in funding, should the measure pass Expose voters to arguments in favor of—and against—the proposed measure to gauge how information affects support for the sales tax, and Estimate support for the measure once voters are presented with the types of information they will likely be exposed to during the election cycle. It is important to note at the outset that voters' opinions about ballot measures are often some- what fluid, especially when the amount of information they initially have about a measure is lim- ited. How voters think and feel about a measure today may not be the same way they think and feel once they have had a chance to hear more information about the measure during the elec- tion cycle. Accordingly, to accurately assess the feasibility of establishing a sales tax, it was 1. California Department of Finance estimate,January 2013. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 important that in addition to measuring current opinions about the measure (Question 2), the survey expose respondents to the types of information voters are likely to encounter during an election cycle—including arguments in favor (Question 6) and opposed (Question 8) to the mea- sure—and gauge how this information ultimately impacts their voting decision (Questions 7 & 9). For a full discussion of the research methods and tech- niques used in this study, turn to Methodology on page 26. In brief, the survey used a combina- tion of mailed invitations and phone calls to recruit participation in the survey from voters in the Town of Truckee who are likely to participate in the November 2014 election, with a subset who are also likely to participate in the lower-turnout June 2014 election. A total of 564 voters partic- ipated online or by telephone between October 28 and November 17, 2013. The telephone inter- views averaged 15 minutes in length. This report is designed to meet the needs of readers who prefer a summary of the findings as well as those who are interested in the details of the results. For those who seek an overview of the findings, the sections titled.Just the Facts and Conclusions are for you. They provide a summary of the most important factual findings of the survey in bul- let-point format and a discussion of their implications. For the interested reader, this section is followed by a more detailed question-by-question discussion of the results from the survey by topic area (see Table of Contents), as well as a description of the methodology employed for col- lecting and analyzing the data. And, for the truly ambitious reader, the questionnaire used for the interviews (see Questionnaire & Toplines on page 29) is contained at the back of this report and a complete set of crosstabulations for the survey results is contained in Appendix A. True North thanks the Town of Truckee for the opportunity to assist the Town in this important effort. The collective expertise, local knowledge, and insight offered by District staff and subcommittee members improved the overall quality of the research presented here. A special thanks also to Charles Heath (TBWB Strategies) for assisting in the design of the study. The statements and conclusions in this report are those of the authors (Dr. Timothy McLarney and Richard Sarles) at True North Research, Inc. and not necessarily those of the Town of Truckee. Any errors and omissions are the responsibility of the authors. True North is a full-service survey research firm that is dedicated to providing public agencies with a clear understanding of the opinions, perceptions, priorities and concerns of their residents and voters. Through designing and implementing scientific surveys, focus groups and one-on-one interviews, as well as expert interpretation of the findings, True North helps its clients to move with confidence when making strategic decisions in a variety of areas—such as planning, policy evaluation, performance management, organizational develop- ment, establishing fiscal priorities, passing revenue measures, and developing effective public information campaigns. During.their careers, Dr. McLarney and Mr. Sarles have designed and conducted over 800 survey research studies for public agencies—including more than 300 studies for California municipali- ties and more than 300 revenue measure feasibility studies. Of the measures that have gone to Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 ballot based on Dr. McLarney's recommendation, more than 94% have been successful. In total, the research that Dr. McLarney has conducted has led to over $22 billion in successful local rev- enue measures. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 U S T T H E F A C T S The following section is an outline of the main factual findings from the survey. For the reader's convenience, we have organized the findings according to the section titles used in the body of this report. Thus, if you would like to learn more about a particular finding, simply turn to the appropriate report section. When presented with a list of eight specific issues and asked to rate the importance of each, protecting the environment and natural open space received the highest percentage of respondents indicating that the issue was either extremely or very important (83%), followed by maintaining local property values (76%), and improving the local economy (74%). Given the purpose of this study, it is instructive to note that preventing local tax increases (59%) was rated much lower in importance than protecting the environment and natural open space, but somewhat higher than improving local recreational opportunities (55%). With only the information provided in the ballot language, two-thirds (67%) of likely Novem- ber 2014 voters indicated they would definitely or probably support the proposed quarter- percent sales tax measure for trails, whereas 29% stated they would oppose the measure and 4%were unsure or unwilling to share their vote choice. Support for the trails measure was fairly insensitive to fluctuations in the proposed tax rate. When the rate was reduced from one-quarter to one-eighth percent, 0% of voters switched to a definite yes position and less than 6% switched to a probably yes position. Those who opposed the measure at the Initial Ballot Test (or were unsure of their position) were most likely to cite a concern about taxes already being too high, a perception that there are already a sufficient quantity of trails in Truckee, a belief that the Town needs to improve how it manages its budget, or a feeling that the Town should seek other sources of funds to improve trails as the reason for their position. Of the 12 projects and programs tested that could be funded by a local sales tax, voters most strongly favored completing the Truckee River Legacy Trail (89% strongly or somewhat favor), followed by providing Safe Routes to Schools for local school children who walk or bike to school (82%), maintaining all trails in Town to a high standard (80%), repairing and maintaining existing and new trails so they can be used year-round (79%), and acquiring and preserving natural open space (7940. When presented with arguments in favor of the measure, voters found the following arguments to be the most persuasive: Every penny raised by the measure will stay in Truckee to improve our community. It cannot be taken away by the State or used for other purposes. This measure will improve the quality of life in Truckee by increasing residents' access to trails, open space and recreation. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 By building safe routes to schools and maintaining trails throughout the year, this measure helps local kids walk or bike to school safely. After being presented with projects that could be funded as well as arguments in favor of the measure, overall support for the measure among voters remained steady at 67%, with 36% of voters indicating that they would definitely vote yes on the measure. Approximately 28% of respondents opposed the measure at this point in the survey, and an additional 5% were unsure or unwilling to state their vote choice. Of the arguments in opposition to the measure, voters found the following arguments to be the most persuasive: People are having a hard time making ends meet with high unemployment and a sluggish economy. Now is NOT the time to be raising taxes. Truckee already has one of the highest sales tax rates in the State. Our residents and local businesses can't afford another sales tax increase. Truckee residents already pay extra local taxes for schools, roads, the hospital and special districts. We shouldn't raise our taxes again to pay for non-essential trails. After being presented with projects that could be funded by the measure, possible tax rates, as well as arguments in favor and against the measure, support for the sales tax measure was found among 65% of voters, with 33% indicating that they would definitely support the measure. Approximately 30% of respondents were opposed to the measure at the Final Bal- lot Test, and 6%were unsure or unwilling to state their vote choice. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. 0 2073 C 0 N C L U S 1 0 N S The bulk of this report is devoted to conveying the details of the study findings. In this section, however, we attempt to 'see the forest through the trees' and note how the collective results of the survey answer the key questions that motivated the research. The following conclusions are based on True North's and TBWB's interpretations of the survey results and the firms' collective experience conducting revenue measure studies for public agencies throughout the State. Should the Town pro- Yes. Voters in the Town of Truckee view protecting the environment, ceed with plans to place protecting and improving access to natural open space, and improving a trails sales tax mea- local recreational opportunities to be very important issues that are wor- sure before voters? pp rY im p thy of additional funding. These sentiments translate into solid natural support (67%) for a local sales tax measure that would create trails in Truckee for walking, hiking, biking, and winter uses, repair and maintain existing and new trails so they can be used year-round, build connec- tions between local trails and regional trail systems, improve public access to natural open space and the Truckee River, and provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children. The results of this study suggest that, if packaged appropriately and combined with a broad-based and effective public education effort, the proposed sales tax measure has a good chance of passage. Having recommended that the Town move forward, it is important to note that this recommendation to take the next steps toward placing a measure on the ballot comes with several qualifications and conditions. Indeed, although the results are promising, all revenue measures must overcome challenges prior to being successful. The proposed measure is no exception. The following paragraphs discuss some of the challenges and the next steps that True North and TBWB recommend. How does the election Different election dates have different turnouts, different electorates, date affect support for and—by extension—different opportunities and challenges. When com- the proposed measure? pared to the November 2014 election, for example, the June 2014 elec- tion turnout will be considerably lower and have a somewhat different demographic profile. In many communities, these demographic differ- ences often translate into different levels of natural support for a pro- posed tax measure. With respect to the proposed trails measure, however, Truckee voters are generally like-minded in their support for the measure regardless of their voting propensity. Among the larger number of voters (5,616) expected to participate in the November 2014 election, 67% supported the sales tax measure on the natural. The corresponding figure among high pro- pensity voters (3,627) who are expected to participate in the lower-turn- out June 2014 election was similar (63%). Given that support for the measure does not vary substantially based on turnout projections, the Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 • Town thus has the luxury of choosing an election date based on other relevant factors—such as avoiding dates in which the proposed trails measure would be competing with other local measures on the same bal- lot. How will the tax rate Naturally, the willingness of voters to support a specific revenue mea- affect support for the sure can be contingent, in part, on the tax rate associated with a mea- measure? sure. The higher the rate, all other things being equal, the lower the level of aggregate support that can be expected. It is important that the rate be set at a level that the necessary proportion of voters view as afford- able. One of the striking patterns in this survey is that Truckee voters' interest in the proposed trails measure was fairly insensitive to the tax rate. At a rate of one-quarter percent, two-thirds (67%) of voters supported the trails measure on the natural. When that rate was cut in half to one- eighth percent, 0% of voters switched to a definite yes position and less than 6% switched to a probably yes position. What projects do voters One of the goals of this study was to identify voters' preferences with identify as priorities for respect to how the proceeds of a successful sales tax measure should be a future measure? sent. In articular, would Truckee voters p p prefer an expenditure plan that focused exclusively on trails creation, repair and maintenance, or would they instead prefer a measure that also included the protection of natural open space? The high importance assigned to protecting the environment and natural open space (see Importance of Issues on page 9) and the top-ranked projects make it clear that Truckee voters would prefer a broader measure that funds open space protection in addition to trails. Overall, the top-ranked projects to be funded by the measure were: •Complete the Truckee River Legacy Trail which will provide a paved trail for walking, running and biking as well as a safe, green transportation alternatives all the way from Glenshire to Donner Lake. •Provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children who walk or bike to school. Maintain all trails in Town to a high standard. Repair and maintain existing and new trails so they can be used year- round. -Acquire and preserve natural open space. How does the public As noted in the body of this report, individuals' opinions about revenue react to information measures are often not rigid, especially when the amount of information about the proposed mea- presented to the public on a measure has been limited. Thus, in addition sure. to measuring current support for the measure, one of the goals of this Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 study was to explore how the introduction of additional information about the measure may affect voters' opinions about the trails measure. It is clear from the survey results that voters' opinions about the pro- posed trails measure are somewhat sensitive to the nature—and amount—of information that they have about the measure. Information about the specific improvements that could be funded by the measure, as well as arguments in favor of the measure, were found by many voters to be compelling reasons to support the proposal. Moreover, this infor- mation played an important role in limiting the erosion of support for the measure once respondents were exposed to the types of opposition arguments they will likely encounter during an election cycle. Accordingly, one of the keys to building and sustaining support for the trails measure will be the presence of an effective, well-organized public outreach effort and a separate independent campaign that focuses on the need for the measure as well as the many benefits that it will bring. How might the eco- A survey is a snapshot in time—which means the results of this study nomic or political cli- and the conclusions noted above must be viewed in light of the current mate alter support for economic and political climates. Despite ongoing concerns about the the measure? p p g g housing market, unemployment, and the lingering effects of the reces- sion, voter support for the proposed trails measure was strong, which speaks volumes about the value that Truckee voters place on having a high quality of life. Nevertheless, should the economy and/or political climate continue to improve, support for the measure could increase. Conversely, negative economic and/or political developments, especially at the local level, could dampen support for the measure below what was recorded in this study. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 20 13 • M P 0 R T A N C E O F I S S U E S The first substantive question of the survey presented respondents with several issues facing residents in Truckee and asked them to rate the importance of each issue. Because the same response scale was used for each issue, the results provide an insight into how important each issue is on a scale of importance as well as how each issue ranks in importance relative to the other issues tested. To avoid a systematic position bias, the order in which the issues were pre- sented was randomized for each respondent. Figure 1 presents the issues tested, as well as the importance assigned to each by survey partic- ipants, sorted by order of importance.2 Overall, protecting the environment and natural open space received the highest percentage of respondents indicating that the issue was either extremely or very important (83%), followed by maintaining local property values, (76%), and improving the local economy (74%). Given the purpose of this study, it is instructive to note that preventing local tax increases (59%) was rated much lower in importance than protecting the environment and natural open space, but somewhat higher than improving local recreational opportunities (55%). Question 1 To begin, I'm going to read a list of issues facing your community and for each one, please tell me how important you feel the issue is to you, using a scale of extremely important, very important, somewhat important or not at all important. Here is the (first/next) issue:------ Do you think this issue is extremely important, very important, somewhat important, or not at all important? FIGURE 1 IMPORTANCE OF ISSUES MExtremely important ®Very important dProtecting environment,natural open space o v o Maintaining local property values ro 0 Improving the local economy e w Preventing local tax increases S o Improving local recreational opportunities 24.5 e a' Reducing traffic congestion a a Improving public safety t a Expanding local transit services iir 0 10 20 30 40 so 60 70 80 90 100 %Respondents 2. Issues were ranked based on the percentage of respondents who indicated that the issue was either extremely important or very important. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 N I T I A L B A L L O T T E S T The primary research objective of this survey was to estimate voters' support for a measure that would increase the local sales tax rate by one-quarter percent to create trails in Truckee for walk- ing, hiking, biking, and winter uses, repair and maintain existing and new.trails so they can be used year-round, build connections between local trails and regional trail systems, improve pub- lic access to natural open space and the Truckee River, and provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children. To this end, Question 2 was designed to take an early assessment of vot- ers' support for the proposed measure. The motivation for placing Question 2 up-front in the survey is twofold. First, voter support for a measure can often depend on the amount of information they have about a measure. At this point in the survey, the respondent has not been provided information about the proposed mea- sure beyond what is presented in the ballot language. This situation is analogous to a voter cast- ing a ballot with limited knowledge about the measure, such as what might occur in the absence of an effective education campaign. Question 2, also known as the Initial Ballot Test, is thus a good measure of voter support for the proposed measure as it is today, on the natural. Because the Initial Ballot Test provides a gauge of 'uninformed' support for the measure, it also serves a second purpose in that it provides a useful baseline from which to judge the impact of various information items conveyed later in the survey on voter support for the measure. Question 2 Next year, voters in Truckee will have the opportunity to vote on a number of State and local issues. Let me read you a summary of one local measure you may be asked to vote on. In order to create trails in Truckee for walking, hiking, biking, and winter uses; repair and main- tain existing and new trails so they can be used year-round; build connections between local trails and regional trail systems; improve public access to natural open space and the Truckee River; and provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children shall the Town of Truckee increase the local sales tax by up to one-quarter percent for a period not to exceed 10 years, with citizen oversight, annual reports to the community, and all funds staying local?. If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no on this measure? FIGURE 2 INITIAL BALLOT TEST Figure 2 presents the results of the Initial Not sure Prefer not to Ballot Test among all 564 respondents 4.2 answer who are likely to participate in the Definitely no --- 0.1 November 2014 election. Overall, 67% of 16.4 respondents indicated they would defi- 35.7 Defnitely yes nitely or probably support the measure at this stage in the survey, whereas 29% stated they would oppose the measure Probably no and 4% were unsure or unwilling to share 12.7 their vote choice. The support levels recorded at the Initial Ballot Test were at the exact two-thirds supermajority required for passage of a special sales tax Probably yes 30.9 under California law. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 For the interested reader, Table 1 shows how support for the measure at the Initial Ballot Test varied by key demographic traits. The blue column (Approxi- mate % of Likely Voter Universe) indicates the percentage of the electorate that each subgroup category comprises. Initial support for the proposed sales tax measure varied widely across subgroups, most notably by whether the respondent (or anyone in their household) had visited a park or open space area in Truckee in the past year, had utilized a trail in Truckee in the past year, partisanship, and household party type. It's also worth noting that although initial support among voters who are expected to participate in a higher-turnout election (November 2014) was 67%, support was a bit lower(63%) among the smaller number of high propensity voters who are expected to participate in the June 2014 election. TABLE 1 DEMOGRAPHIC BREAKDOWN OF SUPPORT AT INITIAL BALLOT TEST G10;'0 I ill at ib of Voter % Probably or Universe Definitely Yes % Not sure Overall 100 66.5 4.2 Child Under 18 in Hsld Yes 29 78.5 2.2 (QD1) No ;'1 66.5 4.7 Hsld Truckee Park, Open Yes 96 69.8 4.0 Space Visit (QD2) No 4 19.3 0.0 Truckee Trail Use(QD3) Yes 90 71.2 3.5 No 10 31.0 6.7 Gender M ale ' 69.1 2.9 Female ;i) 63.9 5.5 Democrat 45 75.6 3.2 Party Republican 29 46.1 6.1 Other/ DTS 26 73.7 3.8 Single deco 21 79.8 4.2 Dual dem 15 76.3 1.8 Household Party Type Single rep 9 34.9 13.0 Dual rep 13 49.9 3.4 Other 21 73.9 4.8 M ixed 21 62.5 2.4 18 to 39 17 75.8 2.8 Age 40 to 49 21 78.6 3.1 5 0 to 64 40 59.3 4.9 65 or older 22 60.7. 5.1 2013 to 2009 28 72.1 4.2 Re g istr ati o n Ye ar 2008 to 2005 28 66.9 3.1 2 004 to 2001 67.9 4.8 2000 or before 58.3 5.0 Homeowner on Voter File Yes 66.3 3.6 No 67.2 5.9 Likely to Vote by Mail Yes 5, 63.9 4.6 No 71.9 3.4 Likely June 2014 Voter Yes = 62.8 3.6 No 73.3 5.2 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 The ballot language in Question 2 indicated that the measure would raise the local sales tax rate by up to one-quarter percent. Respondents who opposed the measure at the Initial Ballot Test or were unsure where subsequently asked if they would support the proposed sales tax increase if the rate increase were instead one-eighth percent. As shown in Figure 3 below, Truckee voters' positions with respect the proposed sales tax increase were fairly insensitive to fluctuations in the proposed tax rate. Despite halving the proposed tax rate, 0% of voters switched to a definite yes position and less than 6% switched to a probably yes position. Question 3 What if the trails measure I just described raised the sales tax by a lower amount. one-eighth percent instead of one-quarter percent? Would you vote yes or no on the measure? FIGURE 3 INITIAL BALLOT TEST AT ONE-EIGHT PERCENT Prefer not to Not sure answer 5.4 0.1 Definitely no 12.6 Probably no 9.7 Yes at one- quarter(Q2) Probably yes 66.5 5.5 Definitely yes 0.1 Respondents who opposed the .measure at Ques- tion 3 were subsequently asked if there was a particular reason for their position. Question 4 was asked in an open-ended manner, thereby allowing respondents to mention any reason that came to mind without being prompted by or restricted to a particular list of options. True North later reviewed the verbatim responses and grouped them into the categories shown in Figure 4 on the next page. The most frequently-mentioned reasons for opposing the sales tax were a con- cern about taxes already being too high (48%), a perception that there are already a sufficient quantity of trails in Truckee (22%), a belief that the Town needs to improve how it manages its budget (16%), and a feeling that the Town should seek other sources of funds to improve trails rather than increase local taxes (13%). Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 Question 4 Is there a particular reason why you do not support the measure 1 just described? FIGURE 4 REASONS FOR NOT SUPPORTING MEASURE Taxes already too high 47.6 Already sufficient trails,outdoor areas 21.6 Town should better manage budget ]16.3 Town should seek other funding sources 12.5 Prefer not to answer 9.3 Need more information 7.1 Other higher priorities in community y 6.5 Will drive residents to shop elsewhere 4.9 Will be harmful to environment,open space 4.8 Cannot afford measure ` ]4.7 Not sure/No particular reason ]4.6 0 10 20 30 40 50 %Respondents Who Do Not Support Measure Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 IL P R O J E C T S & P R O G R A M S The ballot language presented in Question 2 indicated that the proposed sales tax measure would be used to create trails in Truckee for walking, hiking, biking, and winter uses, repair and maintain existing and new trails so they can be used year-round, build connections between local trails and regional trail systems, improve public access to natural open space and the Truckee River, and provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children. The purpose of Question 5 was to provide respondents with the full range of projects and improvements that may be funded by the proposed measure, and to identify which of these improvements voters most favored funding with sales tax proceeds. After reading each item that may be funded by the measure, respondents were asked if they would favor or oppose spending some of the money on that particular item assuming that the measure passes. Truncated descriptions of the items tested, as well as voters' responses, are shown in Figure 5 below.3 Question 5 The measure we've been discussing would provide funding for a variety of improve- ments in the Truckee areal f the measure passes, would you favor or oppose using some of the money to:_____, or do you not have an opinion? FIGURE 5 PROJECTS & PROGRAMS EStrongly favor ESomewhat favor dComplete the Truckee River Legacy Trail a Provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children ; t Maintain all trails in Town to a high standard CY o, Repair and maintain existing and new trails so can be used year-round aAcquire and preserve natural open space oProvide new trails that will safely connect neighborhoods with downtown ro New trails in Truckee forwalking,hiking,biking and winter uses aComplete trails that will connect to regional trail systems dImprove public access to open space,Truckee River Y o Create trails that are accessible to people with disabilities a Plowing trails during winterto allow foroutdoor activities �y Provide facilities at trail heads such as restrooms,parking,picnic tables 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 %Respondents Overall, the item that resonated with the largest percentage of respondents was completing the Truckee River Legacy Trail (89% strongly or somewhat favor), followed by providing Safe Routes to Schools for local school children who walk or bike to school (82%), maintaining all trails in Town to a high standard (80%), repairing and maintaining existing and new trails so they can be used year-round (79%), and acquiring and preserving natural open space (79%). 3. For the full text of the items tested, turn to Question 5 in Questionnaire&Toplines on page 29. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 Table 2 presents the top five projects (showing the percentage of respondents who stronglyfavor each) by position at the Initial Ballot Test. Not surprisingly, individuals who initially opposed the measure were generally less likely to favor spending money on a given project or service when compared with supporters and those who were initially undecided. Nevertheless, initial supporters, opponents, and the undecided did agree on three of the top five priorities for funding. TABLE 2 TOP PROJECTS& PROGRAMS BY POSITION AT INITIAL BALLOT TEST Posit On at Initial Ballot %Strongly Test (Q2) Item Program or Project Summary Favor Q5g Complete the Truckee River Legacy Trail 80 Probably or Q5a New trails in Truckee forwalking, hiking, biking and winter uses 63 Definitely Yes Q5e Provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children 60 (n = 375) Q5f Acquire and preserve natural open space 58 Q5b Re airand maintain existing and new trails so can be used ear-round 57 Q5e Provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children 30 Probably or Q5g Complete the Truckee River Legacy Trail 29 Definitely No Q5f Acquire and preserve natural open space 29 (n= 164) Q5c Complete trails that will connect to regional trail systems 17 Q5' Provide new trails thatwill safely connect neighborhoods with downtown 15 Q5e Provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children 49 Not Sure Q5g Complete the Truckee River Legacy Trail 48 (n =24) Q5f Acquire and preserve natural open space 47 Q51 Plowing trails during winterto allow for outdoor activities 32 Q5a New trails in Truckee for walking, hiking, biking and winter uses 30 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 P O S I T I V E A R G U I V I E N T S Ballot measures do not succeed or fail in a political vacuum. During an election cycle, propo- nents of a measure will present arguments to try to persuade voters to support a measure, just as opponents will present arguments to achieve the opposite goal. For this study to be a reliable gauge of voter support for the proposed sales tax measure, it is important that the survey simu- late the type of discussion and debate that will occur prior to the vote taking place and identify how this information ultimately shapes voters' opinions about the measure. The objective of Question 9 was thus to present respondents with arguments in favor of the pro- posed measure and identify whether they felt the arguments were convincing reasons to support it. Arguments in opposition to the measure were also presented and will be discussed later in this report (see Negative Arguments on page 20). Within each series, specific arguments were administered in random order to avoid a systematic position bias. Question 6 What I'd like to do now is tell you what some people are saying about the measure we've been discussing. Supporters of the measure say:------ Do you think this is a very convinc- ing, somewhat convincing, or not at all convincing reason to SUPPORT the measure? FIGURE 6 POSITIVE ARGUMENTS mVery convincing ESomewhat convincing rt V Money raised will stay in the Truckee community C1 Measure will improve quality of life z d Measure will help kids to go to school safely Y Cy Measure will help protect our investment in trails ry to Share pay by tourist and homeowners because of sales tax a iC1 Measure cost 25 cents for every$100,food,meds excluded dClear system of accountability to ensure money properly spent aMeasure will help protect,improve property values ,o Large percentage of improvements paid by tourists,second homeowners a io Well maintained trail system can have positive impact on economy v d Better system of trails will improve Truckee community dMeasure will help trails to be maintained constantly thro ughout year 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 %Respondents Figure 6 above presents the truncated positive arguments tested, as well as voters' reactions to the arguments. The arguments are ranked from most convincing to least convincing based on the percentage of respondents who indicated that the argument was either a 'very convincing' or 'somewhat convincing' reason to support the measure. Using this methodology, the most com- pelling positive argument was: Every penny raised by the measure will stay in Truckee to improve our community. It cannot be taken away by the State or used for other purposes (71%), followed by This measure will improve the quality of life in Truckee by increasing residents' access to trails, open space and recreation (68%), and By building safe routes to schools and Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 • maintaining trails throughout the year, this measure helps local kids walk or bike to school safely(68%). Considering the intensity of voters' reactions to the arguments (%very convincing), another nota- ble positive argument was Because it is a sales tax, this measure will make sure that tourists and second homeowners pay their fair share (35%very convincing). Table 3 lists the top five most convinc- ing positive arguments (showing the percentage of respondents who cited it as very convincing) according to respondents' vote choice at the Initial Ballot Test. The most striking pattern in the table is that the positive arguments resonated with a much higher percentage of voters who were initially inclined to support the measure when compared with voters who initially opposed the measure or were unsure. Nevertheless, two arguments were ranked among the top five most compelling by all three groups. TABLE 3 TOP POSITIVE ARGUMENTS BY POSITION AT INITIAL BALLOT TEST Position at Initial Ballot %Very Test(Q2) Item Positive Argument Summary Convincing Q6a Money raised will stay in the Truckee community 50 Probably or Q6c2 Share pay by tourist and homeowners because of sales tax 49 Definitely Yes Q6d Measure will improve quality of life 46 (n = 375) Q6h Measure will help kids to go to school safely 39 Q6' Measure cost 25 cents for eve $100, food, meds excluded 37 Q6h Measure will help kids to go to school safely 11 Probably or Q6c2 Share pay by tourist and homeowners because of sales tax 9 Definitely No Q6a Money raised will stay in the Truckee community 8 (n= 164) Q6c1 Large percentage of improvements paid bytourists, second homeowners 7 Q6b Clears stem of accountability to ensure money properly sent 6 Q6c1 Large percentage of improvements paid bytourists, second homeowners 31 Not Sure Q6e Better system of trailswill improve Truckee community 21 (n =24) Q6a Money raised will stay in the Truckee community 21 Q6c2 Share pay by tourist and homeowners because of sales tax 20 Q6b Clear system of accountability to ensure money properly spent 18 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 N T E R I M B A L L O T T E. S T After exposing respondents to the types of positive arguments they may encounter during an election cycle, the survey again presented voters with the ballot language used previously to gauge how their support for the proposed sales tax measure may have changed. As shown in Figure 7, overall support for the measure among voters remained steady at 67%, with 36% of vot- ers indicating that they would definitely vote yes on the measure. Approximately 28% of respon- dents opposed the measure at this point in the survey, and an additional 5% were unsure or unwilling to state their vote choice. Question 7 Sometimes people change their mind about a measure once they have more infor- mation about it. Now that you have heard a bit more about the measure, let me read you a sum- mary of it again. In order to create trails in Truckee for walking, hiking, biking, and winter uses; repair and maintain existing and new trails so they can be used year-round, build connections between local trails and regional trail systems; improve public access to natural open space and the Truckee River; and provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children shall the Town of Truckee increase the local sales tax by up to one-quarter percent for a period not to exceed 10 years, with citizen oversight, annual reports to the community, and all funds staying local?. If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no on this measure? FIGURE 7 INTERIM BALLOT TEST Not sure Prefer not to 4.6 answer 0.3 Definitely no 16.5 Definitely yes 35.7 "Ilk Probably no 11.5 Probably yes 31.4 Table 4 on the next page shows how support for the measure at this point in the survey varied by key voter subgroups, as well as the percentage change in subgroup support when compared with the Initial Ballot Test. Positive differences appear in green, whereas negative differences appear in red. As shown in the table, support for the sales tax generally changed by small amounts (+/- 3% or less) for most subgroups between the Initial and Interim Ballot Test. Table 4 also shows that support for the bond at the Interim Ballot Test among the smaller number of likely June 2014 voters was approximately 3% lower at 64%. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 M TABLE 4 DEMOGRAPHIC BREAKDOWN OF SUPPORT AT INTERIM BALLOT TEST Approximate Change rom of Voter % Probably or Initial Ballot Universe Definitely Yes Test(Q2) Overall 100 67.1 +0.6 Child Under 18 in Hsld Yes 29 81.2 +2.6 (QD1) No 71 66.5 +0.0 Hsld Truckee Park, Open Yes 96 70.7 +0.9 Space Visit(QD2) No i 1 5.6 -3.7 Truckee Trail Use(QD3) Yes 71.9 +0.7 No IO 32.5 +1.5 Gender M ale 50 67.8 -1.3 Female 50 66.4 +2.4 Democrat 45 77.9 +2.3 Party Republican 29 43.7 -2.4 Other/ DTS 26 74.5 +0.8 Single dem 21 82.6 +2.8 Dual dem 15 76.4 +0.0 Household Party Type Single rep 9 33.8 -1.1 Dual rep 13 45.4 -4.5 Other 21 75.9 +2.0 M ixed 21 63.6 +1.2 18 to 39 17 76.7 +0.9 40 to 49 21 78.2 -0.4 Age 5 0 to 64 40 63.1 +3.8 65 or older 56.3 -4.5 2013 to 2009 28 72.3 +0.2 Registration Year 2008 to 2005 28 67.2 +0.3 2 004 to 2001 21 66.3 -1.6 2000 or before ?4 61.5 +3.2 Homeowner on Voter File Yes ; 66.1 -0.2 No 69.9 +2.7 Likely to Vote by Mail Yes 65.6 +1.7 No 70.1 -1.8 Likely June 2014 Voter Yes 64.0 +1.1 No 72.8 -0.4 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 N E G A T I V E A R G U M E N T S Whereas Question 6 presented respondents with arguments in favor of the measure, Question 8 presented respondents with arguments designed to elicit opposition to the measure. In the case of Question 8, however, respondents were asked whether they felt that the argument was a very convincing, somewhat convincing, or not at all convincing reason to oppose the measure. The arguments tested, as well as voters' opinions about the arguments, are presented in Figure 8. Question 8 Opponents of the measure say:_____. Do you think this is a very convincing, some- what convincing, or not at all convincing reason to OPPOSE the measure? FIGURE 8 NEGATIVE ARGUMENTS NVery convincing ;Somewhat convincing m d In economic crisis,now is NOT the time to be raising taxes dHighest sales tax rates,can't afford another sales tax increase ■ Already paying extra taxes,shouldn't raise taxes for trails CY V d Local trails already in good condition,no need for measure dCan't trust Town with tax,will mismanage money 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 %Respondents Among the negative arguments tested, the most compelling were: People are having a hard time making ends meet with high unemployment and a sluggish economy. Now is NOT the time to be raising taxes(69%), Truckee already has one of the highest sales tax rates in the State. Our resi- dents and local businesses can't afford another sales tax increase (69%), and Truckee residents already pay extra local taxes for schools, roads, the hospital and special districts. We shouldn't raise our taxes again to pay for non-essential trails(67%). Table 5 on the next page ranks the negative arguments (showing the percentage of respondents who cited each as very convincing) according to respondents' vote choice at the Initial Ballot Test. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 TABLE 5 NEGATIVE ARGUMENTS BY POSITION AT INITIAL BALLOT TEST osition at Initial Ballot %Very Test(Q2) Item Negative Argument Summary Convincing Q8b Highest sales tax rates, can't afford another sales tax increase 21 Probably or Q8a In economic crisis,now is NOT the time to be raising taxes 20 Definitely Yes Q8e Already paying extra taxes, shouldn't raise taxes for trails 15 (n = 375) Q8d Can't trust Town with tax, will mismanage money 6 Q8c Local trails already in good condition, no need for measure 4 Q8b Highest sales tax rates, can't afford another sales tax increase 70 Probably or Q8e Already paying extra taxes, shouldn't raise taxes for trails 69 Definitely No Q8a In economic crisis,now is NOT the time to be raising taxes 68 (n= 164) Q8d Can't trust Town with tax,will mismanage money 33 Q8c Local trails alread in good condition no need for measure 24 Q8b Highest sales tax rates, can't afford another sales tax increase 41 Not Su re Q8a In econom is crisis,now is NOT the time to be rais ing taxes 38 (n =24) Q8e Already paying extra taxes, shouldn't raise taxes for trails 31 Q8d Can't trust Town with tax, will mismanage money 17 Q8c Local trails already in good condition, no need for measure 13 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 F I N A L B A L L O T T E S T Voters' opinions about ballot measures are often not rigid, especially when the amount of infor- mation presented to the public on a measure has been limited. An important goal of the survey was thus to gauge how voters' opinions about the proposed measure may be affected by the information they could encounter during the course of an election cycle. After providing respon- dents with the wording of the proposed measure, projects that could be funded by the measure, as well as arguments in favor and against the proposal, respondents were again asked whether they would vote `yes' or 'no' on the proposed sales tax measure. Question 9 Now that you have heard a bit more about the measure, let me read you a sum- mary of it one more time. In order to create trails in Truckee for walking, hiking, biking, and win- ter uses; repair and maintain existing and new trails so they can be used year-round; build connections between local trails and regional trail systems; improve public access to natural open space and the Truckee River; and provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children shall the Town of Truckee increase the local sales tax by up to one-quarter percent for a period not to exceed 10 years, with citizen oversight, annual reports to the community, and all funds staying local?. If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no on this measure? FIGURE 9 FINAL BALLOT TEST Not sure Prefer not to 5.2 answer 0.3 Definitely jJ1,,,,,JhDefinitely 17.6 yes 33.3 Probably no 11.9 Probably yes 31.7 At this point in the survey, support for the sales tax measure was found among 65% of voters, with 33% indicating that they would definitely support the measure. Approximately 30% of respondents were opposed to the measure at the Final Ballot Test, and 6%were unsure or unwill- ing to state their vote choice. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 C H A N G E I N S U P P O R T Table 6 provides a closer look at how support for the proposed sales tax measure changed over the course of the interview by calculating the difference in support between the Initial, Interim, and Final Ballot Tests within various subgroups of voters. The percentage of support for the measure at the Final Ballot Test is shown in the column with the heading %Probably or Definitely Yes. The columns to the right show the difference between the Final and the Initial, and the Final and Interim Ballot Tests. Positive differences appear in green, whereas negative differences appear in red. TABLE 6 DEMOGRAPHIC BREAKDOWN OF SUPPORT AT FINAL BALLOT TEST �c>rozi:nae Change From Change From of V0,2 % Probably or Initial Ballot Interim Ballot Definitely Yes Test(Q2) Test(Q7) Overall ;i 65.0 -1.6 -2.1 Child Under 18 in Hsld Yes 79.9 +1.3 1.3 (QD1) No li 63.8 -2.7 -2.7 Hsld Truckee Park, Open Yes '5 69.0 -0.8 -1.8 Space Visit (QD2) No 3.7 -15.6 -11.9 Truckee Trail Use(QD3) Yes 0 70.4 -0.9 -1.5 No I t? 25.8 -5.2 -6.6 Gender Male 67.3 -1.9 -0.6 Female a 62.7 -1.3 -3.7 Democrat 45 76.1 +0.4 -1.9 Party Republican 29 40.1 -6.0 -3.6 Other/ DTS 26 73.6 -0.1 -0.9 Single dem 21 81.9 +2.1 -0.7 Dual dem 15 74.4 -1.9* -2.0 Household Party Type Single rep 9 29.2 -5.7. -4.6 Dual rep 13 40.5 -9.5 -5.0 Other 21 74.5 +0.6 -1.4 M ixed 21 62,1 -0.4 -1.6 1 8 to 39 17 75.8 No change -0.9 Age 40 to 49 21 78.2 -0.4 No change 50 to 64 40 60.8 +1.5 -2.3 65 or older 22 51.4 -9.3 -4.9 2013 to 2009 28 69.6 -2.5 -2.7 Registration Year 2008 to 2005 28 65.1 -1.8 -2.1 2 004 to 2001 21 65.3 -2.6 -1.0 2000 or before ? 4 59.0 +0.6 -2.5 Homeowner on Voter File Yes 7 31 64.0 -2.2 -2.0 No 67.4 +0.2 -2.5 Likely to Vote by Mail Yes 62.7 -1.2 -2.9 No 69.6 -2.3 -0.5 Likely June 2014 Voter Yes ;- 61.4 -1.4 -2.6 No 5 71.4 1.8 1.4 As expected, voters generally responded to the negative arguments with a reduction in their sup- port for the sales tax measure when compared with the levels recorded at the Interim Ballot Test. The general pattern over the course of the entire survey (Initial to Final Ballot Test) was also one of a slight downward trend in support within most subgroups. Whereas Table 6 displays change in support for the measure over the course of the interview at the group level, Table 7 displays the individual-level changes that occurred between the Initial and Final Ballot Tests for the measure. On the left side of the table is shown each of the response Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 options to the Initial Ballot Test and the percentage of respondents in each group. The cells in the body of the table depict movement within each response group (row) based on the informa- tion provided throughout the course of the survey as recorded by the Final Ballot Test. For exam- ple, in the first row we see that of the 35.7% of respondents who indicated that they would definitely support the measure at the Initial Ballot Test, 31% also indicated that they would defi- nitely support the measure at the Final Ballot Test. Approximately 3.4% moved to the probably support group, 0.6% moved to the probably oppose group, 0.4% moved to the definitely oppose group, and 0.2% percent stated they were now unsure of their vote choice. To ease interpretation of the table, the cells are color coded. Red shaded cells indicate declining support, green shaded cells indicate increasing support, whereas white cells indicate no move- ment. Moreover, within the cells, a white font indicates a fundamental change in the vote: from yes to no, no to yes, or not sure to either yes or no. TABLE 7 MOVEMENT BETWEEN INITIAL& FINAL BALLOT TESTS Final Ballot Test(Q9) Definitely Probably Probably Definitely Initial Ballot Test(Q2) support support oppose oppose Not sure Definitely s upport 35.7% 31.0% 3.4% @; r ?; !;;; 16;; i%r Probably support 30.9% 2.1% 26.3% o.4, fi Probably oppose 12.7% 7.5% 1.8% Definitely oppose 16.4% 1.9% 14.5% Not s ure 4.4% —> si:' (di;- �r, 1.8% As one might expect, the information conveyed in the survey had the greatest impact on individ- uals who either weren't sure about how they would vote at the Initial Ballot Test or were tentative in their vote choice (probably yes or probably no). Moreover, Table 7 makes clear that although the information did impact some voters, it did not do so in a consistent way.for all respondents. Some respondents found the information conveyed during the course of the interview to be a reason to become more supportive of the measure, whereas a slightly larger percentage found the same information to be a reason to be less supportive. Despite 10% of respondents making a fundamental4 shift in their opinion about the measure over the course of the interview, the net impact is that support for the measure at the Final Ballot Test was just 2% lower than support at the Initial Ballot Test. 4. This is, they changed from a position of support, opposition or undecided at the Initial Ballot Test to a differ- ent position at the Final Ballot Test. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 B A C K G R O U N D & D E M O G R A P H I C S TABLE 8 DEMOGRAPHICS OF SAMPLE In addition to questions directly related to the Total Respondents 564 Child Under 18 in Hsld(QD1) proposed measure, the study collected basic Yes 27.3 demographic information about respondents No 67.1 and their households. Some of this information Refused 5.6 Hsld Truckee Park, Open Space Visit(QD2) was gathered during the interview, although Yes 94.0 much of it was collected from the voter file. No 4.1 The profile of the likely November 2014 voter Refused 1'9 Truckee Trail Use(QD3) sample used for this study is shown in Table 8. Yes 88.6 No 9.6 Refused 1.8 G e rid er Male 49.6 Female 50.4 Party Dem ocrat 44.6 Republican 29.1 Other/ DTS 26.3 Household Party Type Single deco 20.8 Dual deco 15.3 Single rep 8.7 Dual rep 13.1 Other 20.7 Mixed 21.3 Age 18to39 17.3 40 to 49 20.9 50 to 64 39.5 65 or older 22.3 Registration Year 2013 to 2009 27.7 2008 to 2005 28.0 2004 to 2001 20.5 2000 or before 23.7 Homeowner on Voter File Yes 73.0 No 27.0 Likely to Vote by Mail Yes 67.4 No 32.6 Likely June 2014 Voter Yes 64.6 No 35.4 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 M E T H O D O L O G Y The following sections outline the methodology used in the study, as well as the motivation for using certain techniques. Dr. McLarney of True North Research worked closely with the Town of Truckee and TBWB to develop a questionnaire that covered the topics of inter- est and avoided possible sources of systematic measurement error, including position-order effects, wording effects, response-category effects, scaling effects, and priming. Several ques- tions included multiple individual items. Because asking the items in a set order can lead to a systematic position bias in responses, items were asked in random order for each respondent. Some of the questions asked in this study were presented only to a subset of respondents. For example, only individuals who did not support the sales tax measure at Question 2 or Question 3 were asked the follow-up open-ended Question 4 regarding their reasons for not supporting the measure. The questionnaire included with this report (see Questionnaire & Toplines on page 29) identifies the skip patterns that were used during the interview to ensure that each respon- dent received the appropriate questions. Prior to fielding the survey, the questionnaire was CAT[ (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) programmed to assist interviewers when conduct- ing the telephone interviews, as well as web programmed to allow online participation. Both pro- grams automatically navigate skip patterns, randomize the appropriate question items, and alert the interviewer (phone) or participant (web) to certain types of keypunching mistakes should they occur. The integrity of the questionnaire was pre-tested internally by True North prior to formally commencing the interviewing. The survey was administered to regis- tered voters in the Town of Truckee who are likely to participate in the November 2014 election, with a subset of voters who are also likely to participate in the lower turnout June 2014 primary election. A total of 3,000 voters were mailed letters that invited them to participate in the study either online at a secure website or by telephone. Each voter was assigned a unique personal identification number (PIN), which prevented outsiders from participating in the survey and ensured that voters completed the survey only once. Following a two-week period of online data collection, True North began dialing into likely November 2014 voter households that had not yet participated in the online survey (including those that had received an invitation letter and those that had not). A total of 564 voters participated online or by telephone between October 28 and November 17, 2013. The telephone interviews averaged 15 minutes in length. The final sample of voters was representative of the age, gender, and partisanship of voters in the Town of Truckee who are likely to participate in the November 2014 election. The results of the sample can thus be used to estimate the opin- ions of all voters likely to participate in the November 2014 election. Because not all voters par- ticipated in the study, however, the results have what is known as a statistical margin of error due to sampling. The margin of error refers to the difference between what was found in the sur- vey of 564 voters for a particular question and what would have been found if all 5,616 likely November 2014 voters identified in the Town had been surveyed for the study. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 • For example, in estimating the percentage of likely voters that would definitely support the mea- sure at the Initial Ballot Test (Question 2 in the survey), the margin of error can be calculated if one knows the size of the population, the size of the sample, a confidence level, and the distri- bution of responses to the question. The appropriate equation for estimating the margin of error, in this case, is shown below. Where p is the proportion of voters who said definitely yes (0.36 for 36% in this example), N is the population size of likely voters (5,616), n is the sample size that received the question (564) and t is the upper a/2 point for the t-distribution with n— 1 degrees of freedom (1 .96 for a 95% confidence interval). Solving the equation using these values reveals a margin of error of ± 3.76%. This means that with 36% of survey respondents indicating they would definitely sup- port the measure at the Initial Ballot Test, we can be 95% confident that the actual percentage of all likely November 2014 voters that would definitely support the measure is between 32% and 40%. Figure 10 provides a graphic plot of the maximum margin of error in this study. The maximum margin of error for a dichotomous percentage result occurs when the answers are evenly split such that 50% provide one response and 50% provide the alternative response. For this survey, the maximum margin of error is ± 3.91%. FIGURE 10 MAXIMUM MARGIN OF ERROR DUE TO SAMPLING 14% -- - ----------r---- -----r----T----------r---- -----1 1 1 I I I I I I I I 1 I I I I I I I I I I I I 1 I I I 1 I I I I I I 1 I I I I I I I I I I 10% _____I_____ I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I O I I I I I I I 1 I I I I I I I I I O C I I I I I I I I I I I I I IL 6% ---- -----'-- -L---- ----- --- 2014 Voters 4% ----j-----,-----,------,-----,- - ---------------- -----, I I 1 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 1 I I I I I 1 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 1 I I I 1 I 0% 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 Sample Size(Number of Respondents) Within this report, figures and tables show how responses to certain questions varied by sub- groups such as age, gender, and partisan affiliation. Figure 10 is thus useful for understanding how the maximum margin of error for a percentage estimate will grow as the number of individ- uals asked a question (or in a particular subgroup) shrinks. Because the margin of error grows exponentially as the sample size decreases, the reader should use caution when generalizing and interpreting the results for small subgroups. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 Data processing consisted of checking the data for errors or inconsis- tencies, coding and recoding responses, and preparing frequency analyses, and crosstabula- tions. Numbers that end in 0.5 or higher are rounded up to the nearest whole num- ber, whereas numbers that end in 0.4 or lower are rounded down to the nearest whole number. These same rounding rules are also applied, when needed, to arrive at numbers that include a decimal place in constructing figures and charts. Occasionally, these rounding rules lead to small discrepancies in the first decimal place when comparing tables and pie charts for a given question. Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 • Q U E S T I O N N A I R E & T O P L I N E S Town of Truckee %T R U E N O R T H T B W B Trails Sales Tax R E s E A R C ri Final Toplines II �. November 2013 Hi, may I please speak to_____. My name is_____,and I'm calling on behalf of TNR,an independent public opinion research firm. We're conducting a survey of voters about im ortant issues in Truckee(Truck ee)and I'd like to et our opinions. If needed:This is a survey about important issues in your community.I'm NOT trying to sell anything and I won't ask for a donation. If needed:The survey should take about 12 minutes to complete. If needed:If now is not a convenient time,can you let me know a better time so I can call back? If the person asks why you need to speak to the listed person or if they ask to participate instead, explain: For statistical purposes,at this time the survey must only be completed by this particular individual. If the person says they are an elected official or is somehow associated with the survey, politely explain that this survey is designed to measure the opinions of those not closely associated with the study, thank them for their time,and terminate the interview. Section 2:Importance of Issues To begin,I'm going to read a list of issues facing your community and for each one, please tell me how important you feel the issue is to vou, using a scale of extremely Ql important,very important,somewhat important or not at all important. Here is the(first/next)issue:------Do you think this issue is extremely important,very important,somewhat important,or not at all im ortant? E t: Randomize. v `o W p E a R o a > a o LE E 0E z° E Z ao A Improving the local economy 33% 41% 21% 4% 1% 0% B Protecting the environment and natural open 56% 27% 14% 3% 0% 0% space C Expanding local transit services 140% 26% 3945 1 19% 2% 045 D Improving public safety 15% 25% 46% 12% 11/60 0% E Maintaining local property values 39% 36% 20% 4% 0% 0% F Preventing local tax increases 34% 25% 29% 10% 2% 0% G Reducing traffic congestion 19% 29% 371% 14% 1% 0% H Improving local recreational opportunities 25% 31% 32% 13% 145 0% True North Research,Inc.©2013 page I Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 Truckee Trails Sales Tax Survey November 2013 Section Ballot Next year,voters in Truckee will have the opportunity to vote on a number of State and local issues.Let me read you a summary of one local measure you may be asked to vote on. In order to: • Create trails in Truckee for walking,hiking,biking,and winter uses • Repair and maintain existing and new trails so they can be used year-round • Build connections between local trails and regional trail systems • Improve public access to natural open space and the Truckee River Q2 And provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children Shall the Town of Truckee increase the local sales tax by up to one-quarter percent for a period not to exceed 10 years,with citizen oversight,annual reports to the community, and all funds staying local? If the election were held today,would you vote yes or no on this measure?Get answer, then ask:Would that be definite) ( es/no)or robabl ( es/no)? 1 Definitely yes 36% Skip to Q5 2 Probably yes 31% Skip to Q5 3 Probably no 13% Ask Q3 4 Definitely no 16% Ask Q3 98 Not sure 4% Ask Q3 99 Prefer not to answer 0% Ask Q3 What if the trails measure I just described raised the sales tax by a lower amount:one- Q3 eighth percent instead of one-quarter percent?Would you vote yes or no on the measure?Get answer, then ask:Would that be definite) ( es/no)or probably( es/no)? Yes at one-quarter percent(Q2) 67% Skip to Q5 1 Definitely yes 0% Skip to Q5 2 Probably yes 6% Skip to Q5 3 Probably no 1045 Ask Q4 4 Definitely no 1345 Ask Q4 98 Not sure 5% Ask Q4 99 1 Prefer not to answer 0% Ask Q4 Is there a particular reason why you do not support the measure I just described?If Q4 yes,ask:Please briefly describe your reason.Verbatim responses recorded and later rou ed into cate ories shown below. Taxes already too high 48% Already sufficient trails,outdoor areas 22% Town should better manage budget 16% Town should seek other funding sources 12% Prefer not to answer 9% Other higher priorities in community 7% True North Research,Inc.O 2013 page 2 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 Truckee Trails Sales Tax Survey November 2013 Need more information 70% Cannot afford measure 545 Will drive residents to shop elsewhere 545 Will be harmful to environment,open space 5% Not sure/No particular reason 5% Section 4:Projects&Programs The measure we've been discussing would provide funding for a variety of improvements in the Truckee area. Q5 If the measure passes,would ou favor or oppose ppose using some of the money to:_____, or do you not have an opinion?Get answer,if favor or oppose, then ask:Would that be strop I (favor/oppose)or somewhat(favor/op ose)? c° > v > w n a 0 °LL Eii Ea ° a O ym in o 00 ,T,O o 0 Z A Create new trails in Truckee for walking, 47% 32% 1046 646 446 140 hikin ,biking and winter uses B Repair and maintain existing and new trails 42/o 37,0 o 11%o 6%% 4-110 % l,o so the can be used ear-round C Complete trails in Town that will connect to 41% 37% 940 6% 646 1 re ional trails stems outside of Town Improve public access to natural open space D and the Truckee River for recreational 33% 39% 15% 7% 6% 145 purposes E Provide Safe Routes to Schools for local 511% 31% 71% 345 6% 1% school children who walk or bike to school F Acquire and preserve natural open space 49% 30% 9% 745 4% 1% Complete the Truckee River Legacy Trail which will provide a paved trail for walking, G running and biking as well as a safe,green 64% 25% 4% 5% 2% 0% transportation alternatives all the way from Glenshire to Donner Lake H Maintain all trails in Town to a high standard 34% 46% 846 5% 6% 1% I Provide facilities at trail heads such as 21% 41% 19% 1 145 8% 1% restrooms, parking and picnic tables Provide new trails that will safely connect J neighborhoods with downtown and other 42% 36% 11% 5% 4% 1% destinations K Create trails that are accessible to people with 22% 4460 1446 6% 13116. 2% disabilities Plowing some trails during winter to allow for L walking and biking,while grooming others 32% 31% 18% 14% 445 1 for skiinq and snow-shoeing True North Research,Inc.O 2013 page 3 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 Truckee Trails Sales Tax Survey November 2013 What I'd like to do now is tell you what some people are saying about the measure we've been discussing. Q6 Supporters of the measure say:------ Do you think this is a very convincing, somewhat convincing,or not at all convincing reason to SUPPORT the measure? > 0 Randomize.Split Sample Item C E v•`- a U ^U ZU o Y m 0 0 0 O n`. Every penny raised by the measure will stay in A Truckee to improve our community. It cannot 36% 3546 14% 10% 4% 2% be taken away by the State or used for other purposes. This measure requires a clear system of B accountability, including a Citizen's Oversight 25% 37% 2190 1096 5% 295 Committee and annual reports to the community showing how the money is spent. This measure is a good deal for residents.A Cl large percentage of the trail improvements 2745 32% 21% 15% 3% 1% will be paid for by tourists and second home owners who also use our trails. Because it is a sales tax,this measure will C2 make sure that tourists and second 35% 3095 21% 9% 20% 3% homeowners pay their fair share. This measure will improve the quality of life . of o D in Truckee by increasing residents'access to 33o..0 3600 18% 9 0 3o.0 f 2/ trails open space and recreation. A better system of trails in Truckee will E reduce traffic congestion,improve air quality, 20% 31% 26% 19% 3% 2% and help Truckee become a healthier, sustainable community. Currently the trails in Truckee are not consistently maintained and they are typically F closed in the winter.This measure will ensure 19% 32% 29% 11% 7% 296 that trails are consistently maintained throughout the year. By increasing recreational opportunities and G trails in Truckee,this measure will help 21% 40% 21% 11% 5% 245 protect and improve local property values. By building safe routes to schools and H maintaining trails throughout the year,this 30% 39% 18% 9% 3% 295 measure helps local kids walk or bike to school safely. Experts agree that a well-maintained trail - I system can have a positive impact on the 20% 38% 24% 12% S% 246 local economy. True North Research,Inc.©2013 page q Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. 0 2073 Truckee Trails Sales Tax Survey November 2013 This measure will cost just 25 cents for every j 100 dollars purchased.Food,medicine and 26% 37% 2146 846 6% 2% many other essential items are also excluded from the tax. This measure will help protect our investment K in trails by ensuring that they are maintained 2S% 4346 20% 6% 5% 246 and repaired on an ongoing basis. Sometimes people change their mind about a measure once they have more information about it. Now that you have heard a bit more about the measure, let me read you a summary of it again. In order to: • Create trails in Truckee for walking, hiking,biking,and winter uses • Repair and maintain existing and new trails so they can be used year-round • Build connections between local trails and regional trail systems • Improve public access to natural open space and the Truckee River Q7 • And provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children Shall the Town of Truckee increase the local sales tax by up to one-quarter percent for a period not to exceed 10 years,with citizen oversight,annual reports to the community, and all funds staying local? If the election were held today,would you vote yes or no on this measure?Get answer, then ask:Would that be definite) ( es/no)or robabl ( es no)? 1 Definitely yes 36% 2 Probably yes 31 3 Probably no 1 1% 4 Definitely no 17% 98 Not sure 5% 99 Prefer not to answer 0% True North Research,Inc.O 2013 Page 5 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 Truckee Trails Sales Tax Survey November 2013 Next, let me tell you what opponents of the measure are saying. Q8 Opponents of the measure say:------ Do you think this is a very convincing, somewhat convincing,or not at all convincing reason to OPPOSE the measure? W o 2 c Randomize v v a m o a= > c 0a oc ❑ gin ,arc U -U Z0 Y0 v ^� d People are having a hard time making ends A meet with high unemployment and a sluggish 35% 3540 1 9% 846 246 296 economy.Now is NOT the time to be raising taxes. Truckee already has one of the highest sales B tax rates in the State.Our residents and local 36% 33% 18% 846 440 2% businesses can't afford another sales tax increase. C The local trail systems are already in great 10% 28% 38% 17% 5% 2% condition we don't need this measure. D We can't trust the Town with this tax.They 14% 23% 3046 23% 7% 2% will mismanage the money. Truckee residents already pay extra local E taxes for schools,roads,the hospital and 31% 3546 2346 746 246 2% special districts.We shouldn't raise our taxes again to pay for non-essential trails. True North Research,Inc.O 2013 page 6 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013 � Truckee Trails Sales Tax Survey November 2013 Section 8:Final Ballot Test Now that you have heard a bit more about the measure, let me read you a summary of it one more time. In order to: • Create trails in Truckee for walking, hiking,biking,and winter uses • Repair and maintain existing and new trails so they can be used year-round • Build connections between local trails and regional trail systems • Improve public access to natural open space and the Truckee River Q9 • And provide Safe Routes to Schools for local school children Shall the Town of Truckee increase the local sales tax by up to one-quarter percent for a period not to exceed 10 years,with citizen oversight,annual reports to the community, and all funds staying local? If the election were held today,would you vote yes or no on this measure?Get answer, then ask:Would that be definite) ( es/no)or robabl ( es no)? 1 Definitely yes 33% 2 Probably yes 32% 3 Probably no 12% 4 Definitely no 18% 98 Not sure 5016 99 1 Prefer not to answer 0% Section 9:Background&Demographics Thank you so much for your participation. Please answer a few more background questions for statistical purposes. D1 Do you have children under the age of 18 living in your household? 1 Yes 27% 2 No 67% 99 Prefer not to answer 6% D2 In the past 12 months, have you or another member of your household visited a park or open space area in Truckee? I Yes 94°6 2 No 4% 99 Prefer not to answer 2% True North Research,Inc.©2013 page 7 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2073 Truckee Trails Sales Tax Survey November 2013 D3 In the past 12 months, have you personally used a trail in Truckee for walking, hiking, biking,cross-country skiing or some other recreational activity? 1 Yes 89% 2 No 10% 99 Prefer not to answer 296 Those are all of the questions that I have for you.Thanks so much for participating in this important survey. •. - Items S1 Gender 1 Male 50% 2 1 Female 50% S2 Party 1 Democrat 45% 2 Republican 2996 3 Other 3% 4 DTS 23% S3 Age on Voter File 1 1 18 to 29 5% 2 30 to 39 12% 3 40 to 49 21 4 50 to 64 40% 5 65 or older 22% 99 Notcoded 0% S4 Registration Date 1 2013 to 2009 28% 2 2008 to 2005 28% 3 2004 to 2001 21 4 2000 to 1997 8% 5 1 Before 1997 16% True North Research,Inc.O 2013 page g Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 20 13 • Truckee Trails Sales Tax Survey November 2013 S5 Household Party Type 1 Single Dem 2155 2 Dual Dem 150,6 3 Single Rep 995 4 Dual Rep 1 396 5 Single Other 13% 6 Dual Other 8% 7 Dem&Rep 6% 8 Dem&Other 955 9 Rep&Other 5% 0 Mixed (Dem+Rep+Other) 2% S6 Homeowner on Voter File 1 Yes 73% 2 1 No 27% S7 Likely to Vote by Mail 1 Yes 6796 2 No 33% S8 Likely June 2014 Voter 1 Yes 65% 2 1 No 35% S9 Likely November 2014 Voter 1 Yes 100% 2 No 0% True North Research,Inc.O 2013 Page 9 Town of Truckee True North Research, Inc. © 2013