City leaders will decide Tuesday whether to ask voters to approve a new tax in November's general election, following poll results released Wednesday showing a majority of residents support the idea.
The decision is a change from the city's tentative plan to go to voters in June. Milpitas declared a fiscal emergency last week with the idea that residents might decide on a new tax in three months instead of eight. That declaration would have made it easier for the tax to pass, requiring only a majority or voter approval instead of the typical 2/3 "yes" vote.
However, Milpitas general manager Tom Williams said in a statement Wednesday that the "intensity" of support for a new tax was not as high as the city would like. While 61 percent of those polled said they would support a new, half-cent sales tax, only 28 percent of those said they would "definitely" vote yes.
The survey also showed that 16 percent of Milpitas voters believed the city was in "great need" of funding; 37 percent believed the city was in "some need"; 23 percent felt the city had "a little need"; and 17 percent felt the city had "no need" for more money.
The poll surveyed 400 voters by phone on Feb. 19-21.
"It was surprising to learn that despite the $6.5 million in budget cuts, the reduction of 116 employee positions and employee concessions of up to 15 percent, voters still were not well informed of our funding needs," Williams said. "Part of our goal going into November will be to do more to educate the residents of Milpitas about the dire financial condition of our city."
The move comes after Milpitas Unified School District voted Tuesday to ask voters in June to approve a new property tax to raise $95 million for school repairs and improvements.
The city council meeting will be 7 p.m. at Milpitas City Hall.