Steamboat Springs Q. The 2002 Steamboat Springs Community Survey covers a broad array of issues. How do you think the City Council will proceed in utilizing the community survey?
A. The original intent of the survey was to measure how the city was doing in the delivery of services and programs in our community.
The city council is currently in the process of establishing guiding principles and goals for 2002 and 2003. Information from the survey will be the overlay piece to help prioritize goals to maintain, improve or implement services and programs to meet our community needs. The council will need to exhibit strong leadership in utilizing this information to further our comprehensive approach to planning and decision making and not to be sidetracked by special interest or personal agendas related to a specific issue. The council can ill afford to lose sight of the the big picture.
Q. As an individual council
member, do you see the survey results as something that can or will guide your future decision making?
If so, how?
A. Absolutely! I will use it as one of a bundle of tools to make decisions that will have the best interest of the community in mind. Some of the other tools will include existing and newly developed planning document, such as information from the review process and an update of the Community Area Plan, research on special districts and taxation options currently being gathered, financial projections, research and comparative information from communities with similar demographics and issues.
Q. Now that you have had a chance to review the results, which responses stand out? Which ones
surprised you? Which ones did
A. First, the overall number of returned surveys was a pleasant surprise. A bit of a surprise was the lack of an absolute clear mandate on any one issue. Not a surprise, at all, was the fact that the majority of us recognize and celebrate the quality of life we are privileged to have here in the valley and some inconveniences related to living in a resort community are merely annoying at times. But as much as we love our trails, open space and feeling safe, full-time residents still struggle with the type and level of taxation to pay for these desirable services and amenities. I believe this is a syndrome developed from our continued dependence on sales tax, of which a large percentage is generated from visitors to our community. And finally, there is the existence of a small group of folks that will never be satisfied or happy with anything that detracts from getting things their way.
Q. The 2002 survey was obviously exhaustive and had a pretty strong response. But are there things about this year's survey that you think the city needs to consider changing as it looks to conduct future surveys?
A. This survey laid a broad foundation to work from. The next step in the scope of work for project could set precedence for a focus survey approach in the future. The Council is in the process of determining focus areas for the next step. Once accomplished, further details in a given area will improve the city council's ability to develop and implement plans to meet overall community needs. For instance, if a city program or service has a current high level of success, how do you prevent deterioration while not compromising implementation of new, vital programs and services, especially during these financially challenging times? Focus surveying could help to sequence actions, identify funding options and partnerships to prevent deterioration while preparing to meet future needs.
Q. In some cases, the survey results might be construed as contradictory. For example, the survey indicates residents think slowing the rate of growth and providing affordable housing are very important. How do you see the council handling such contradictions?
A. For these two issues to be contradictory, one would have to believe affordable housing generates growth. My fellow council members and I will each need to articulate our individual philosophy on this. My response to your question would be to ask whether we even have the ability to slow growth or can we better manage what is inevitable. Left out of many community discussions is the influence of external factors on our community; national and state economy and growth trends, technology related to business and the increased mobility of our society.
It is imperative that we make these a more important part of discussions and decisions on how we move forward to address concerns about the management of growth and one compelling consequence of growth in our community, lack of affordable housing.