Atherton residents will be asked a number of questions about issues in their community -- including whether they want a new library built in the town's only park -- if the City Council approves a proposal on June 20 to conduct a professional survey.
Mayor Bill Widmer, with support from Interim City Manager Theresa DellaSanta, is proposing the survey to get feedback from the community on the controversial library plan, the effectiveness of the town's outsourcing of key public services, a proposal to build permanent Little League facilities in the park, and other matters, Mr. Widmer said in an interview.
Should the council approve the survey, it may calm an ongoing tempest over the planned construction of a 10,000-square-foot library in Holbrook-Palmer Park -- a plan approved by a 3-2 council vote last year that has galvanized a number of community members to push for a vote on the facility's location.
"There's a lot of divisiveness in this town on the library issue," Mayor Widmer said. "In my personal view, the park is a good place for a library ... but I would like to hear from the public" to determine how widespread opposition to the plan actually is, he said.
In a press release issued Friday, Mr. Widmer said: "It is my hope that this survey will serve as a way to help unify the town and bring valuable input to the decision making process. I hope the full council embraces this recommendation."
If approved, the survey would be conducted by Godbe Research. Saying that she believes a survey would be "a positive step forward for Atherton," Ms. DellaSanta noted in the press release that the town has used the firm in the past, and that its understanding of the town's demographics "should allow for a clean and efficient process."
Mayor Widmer said on Friday that the interim city manager was still calculating the cost of conducting the survey, but he estimated it would cost about $18,500. "That's in line with what we paid a few years ago when the town did a survey (related to) the police department," he said.
The council will vote on the proposal at its regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, in the Council Chambers, 94 Ashfield Road, in the Town Center.