City to release survey results Tuesday

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— The surveys are in. But the results are not.

Steamboat Springs city officials are waiting until Tuesday night's City Council meeting before divulging the information found in a survey sent out to 4,000 residents.

RRC Associates, the survey consultants, are expected to give an hour-long presentation on the survey, which asked residents what services and projects they considered the most important.

City Manager Paul Hughes is expecting questions of growth and development to be the biggest findings that come out of the survey. The City Council approved the survey in hopes of gaining some guidance in how to spend the 2001 budget.

"We need to make some long-term decisions on service projects. And the survey study provides us with some direction. And that is certainly what the city is hoping to get from the survey," Hughes said.

Taking many an hour to complete, survey questions had local residents answering how they would divide $100 on city services and projects. City Deputy Manager Wendy DuBord said there were about four different sections that asked how the city should prioritized money.

Choices ranged from making Howelsen Hill a year-round ski jumping complex to affordable housing to historical preservation.

"We asked the same question four different ways. One of the more interesting ways was picking which items they would pay for and how much they would pay for each of these and ranking them in order of importance. The answer to that question is very interesting," DuBord said.

The surveys were mailed out in February and randomly selected residential and commercial properties from registered voters lists, purchased mailing lists and Steamboat's chamber of commerce list. Residents who wanted their voice heard but were not mailed a survey could request one from the city.

Hughes said these accounted for 61 of the more than 1,000 returned. Upon residents' requests, the deadline was postponed until the second week of April.

Hughes said the city had a 27 percent return rate, much higher than expected and higher than the normal return rate for mailed surveys.

A draft of the survey result will be presented to the council Tuesday with a final report following. The city still has 300 phone surveys to complete.

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