(Los Alamitos, 3/16/2013) Looks like our residents prefer trees and gardens to free trips for Seniors or a digital reading board at Laurel Park. At least when it comes to “giving back” their tax dollars, according to the 105 residents and families who returned the surveys.
The Community Give-Back Ad Hoc Committee met and discussed the results of that survey, which was distributed to all Los Alamitos residents.
Residents were asked to select their top 5 choices out of the 10 choices provided, and city staff compiled the results.
The priorities from the respondents were submitted accordingly:
- 1) Plant 600 Trees (on City owned properties), 448
- 2) Free Summer Parks Programs, 376
- 3) Re-establish Police Explorer Program, 374
- 4) Develop a Community Garden, 294
- 5) Other, 240
- 6) Emergency Kits, 226
- 7) Holiday Decorations, 224
- 8) Sugar Beet Festival, 180
- 9) Digital Reader Board, 172
- 10)Senior Trips Scholarship, 146.
Since “Plant Trees” was given a score of 448 out of 105 surveys, I’m assuming staff assigned points based on individual rankings. Most likely 5 points when a survey ranked an item #1 of the five they selected down to 1 point for an item ranked #5 (out of a total of ten items residents could choose from).
The Committee is recommending that at Monday’s City Council Meeting the City Council consider the top four ranked programs, for total cost of $141,500.
This is only 40% of the $358,000 the Council originally set aside for the program, which may reflect a new concern for fiscal austerity by the current Council.
Some residents and Council Members have expressed concern that the amount should be reduced, in part because the reported City Surplus of around $7 million does not include an estimated $3 million in unfunded pension liabilities and an approximate $2 million loan outstanding on the purchase of Laurel Park.
At last month’s Regular City Council Meeting Council Members voted to extend the Business and Residential Improvement Program since about $57,000 of the $162,000 allocated for that program had not yet been spent. Both programs are funded from the City’s reserves. Participants in the Improvement Program must make purchases at least equal to the amount they are reimbursed in Los Alamitos, so that program encourages (actually requires) using Los Al businesses, which adds to Los Al sales tax revenues.
As for the trees, the Ad Hoc Committee discussed planting more mature trees and picking a tree that does not cause root damage. They requested West Coast Arborists be contacted for input. Also, discount purchases of the trees was a factor.
For more on the survey, including how I voted, see “Time to vote on Los Al’s “Community Give-Back” and, for my earlier perspective on the options, along with the perspectives of several of our readers, “Making the most of the “Community Give-Back.”