City extends its deadline on citizen survey

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— The survey the city sent out to 4,000 residents two weeks ago is taking some people a little longer to finish than the city expected. That's why the city is extending the deadline for returning the surveys from today the original deadline to April 8.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said the city's consultant had already received hundreds of surveys back, but some residents called the city asking for more time.

"It is a long form, but I think it is a real important one," said Leslie Lovejoy, a local resident who had dropped her survey into a pile of "things to do" and had almost forgotten about it. She was grateful for the extension.

To ensure an accurate count, the city is willing to give people more time, DuBord said.

Once the surveys are returned, the consultants, RRC Associates, will make 300 phone calls to residents to confirm the results of the written survey.

DuBord said residents have not complained about the length of the survey, though some did ask for the extension. The survey, which asks about the quality of city services and the city budget, should take about 20 to 30 minutes, she said. It is eight pages long and designed to be scanned to avoid human error or tampering.

City Councilman Steve Ivancie said he thinks the extension is a good idea as long as the consultant still has time to analyze the data before the council has to decide on the 2003 budget.

"We knew it would take citizens time to finish, but it's well worth it," Ivancie said. "I have no problem with an extension. I would like to see as many people return them as possible."

The results should be out in late April or early May, DuBord said.

The numbers from the survey will help the city decide where to spend money and whether to go for a tax ballot issue this year.

It will also help the city draft the Steamboat Springs Community Area Plan, said city Planning Director Wendie Schulenberg.

It cost the city about $25,000 to conduct the survey and to have it analyzed by the consultant. At no point will city officials look at the surveys or handle them, DuBord said.

"We really would encourage citizens to return the surveys as quick as they can," DuBord said.

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