11:21 PM PDT on Friday, July 9, 2010

The Press-Enterprise

Riverside voters want to see more public facilities improved, but not enough want to pay for it to approve a tax measure, a city-commissioned survey has concluded.

The survey, released Friday, asked 600 registered voters in Riverside their opinions on the $1.57 billion Riverside Renaissance public works program. It asked whether they think more public improvements are needed and if they were willing to tax themselves to pay for more projects.

Two-thirds needed

Although the results show 53 percent of those polled said they would support a local bond measure for public works projects, such a measure would require a two-thirds majority for approval.

A supermajority probably could be drummed up to renew Measure C, a $19 parcel tax that supports library operations and programs. Support for that grew when residents were told the amount of that tax wouldn’t go up, the survey states.

Those findings mean the city likely won’t move ahead with anything other than planning for “Renaissance II,” a second public works package some officials already have begun to discuss.

The Renaissance, launched in October 2006 as a five-year program, has created new parks and libraries, replaced aging water and sewer lines, built railroad overpasses and improved older facilities citywide.

But some projects have been delayed or weren’t included in the original list, and without a tax measure, they may have to wait. The city borrowed about $1 billion for the first Renaissance.

“To me, I think it means now is not the time to push forward with that method of funding, and honestly that doesn’t surprise me in this economy,” Councilman Mike Gardner said. “I don’t think we’re ready to move forward with a Renaissance II yet.”

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