Frustrated voters.

Voters line up a polling place at the Church Nazarene on Citrus Avenue on the morning of the March 3 primary election. At 7 a.m., when polls normally open, they were told they would have to wait another 30 minutes. Several walked away grumbling about having to get to work.

According to consultant company True North Research, 66 percent of Redlanders support an increased sales tax.

The measure residents will vote on in November, which proposes a 1-cent sales tax increase, has been a hot topic around the city.

True North conducted a survey of likely November voters before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last fall, 600 residents were surveyed. Support for the increase in sales tax was 71 percent.

Post pandemic, they surveyed 937 residents. Support dropped by only five points to 66 percent.

Timothy McLarney, president of True North, presented positive and negative arguments for the sales tax at City Council’s meeting on June 16.

Positive arguments include funding for police and fire departments, which will keep response times low and ensure availability.

Funding from the tax will also help the city keep up with repairs and maintenance as well as help with the city’s overall budget shortfall for the coming years.

One negative argument is the sales tax is already too high. McLarney listed that seniors who are on fixed incomes may not be able to afford an increase.

Another deterrent is local businesses have been hit hard by recent shutdowns, and raising the sales tax may make it harder for them to recover. McLarney also noted the tax has no expiration date.

Councilwoman Toni Momberger said during City Council’s meeting on July 7 that she does not believe an increase will hurt small businesses.

“Our offerings are unique,” she said. “People come to Redlands because these kinds of services don’t exist anywhere else.”

Mayor Pro Tem Denise Davis also voiced her support of the measure. “It is important to give voters the option to support our city,” said Davis.

Election schedule

Aug. 7: Regular filing deadline.

Oct. 5: Early voting begins.

Oct. 19: Voter registration deadline.

Oct. 27: Deadline to apply to vote by mail.

Nov 3: Election Day.