Surveys track locals' spending

County sees low response rate so far

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— Several organizations in Routt County want to know where and how residents spend their money.

Residents, however, haven't been too responsive to their inquiry.

The Steamboat Springs and Routt County economic development councils, in conjunction with the Colorado State Extension Service, mailed out 2,100 surveys last week to track where locals' dollars go.

As of last Friday, 120 completed surveys had been returned.

Supporters of the survey would like to receive at least 500 questionnaires.

"Resident participation is important because it will help us all better understand the Routt County economy," Routt County Extension agent Debbie Alpe said Monday. "We want to encourage everyone to fill them out and send them in."

Some incentives have been offered to entice more people to pick up their pencils and participate.

Individuals who return their survey by Sept. 16 are eligible for a drawing for a $50 gift certificate good for many Routt County businesses.

Scott Ford of the Steamboat Economic Development Council said response to the survey was important to correctly gauge how different factors affect locals' decisions to keep their money in the county.

"Really good information really helps us make informed decisions," Ford said.

The Hayden Chamber of Commerce, Routt County, Colorado Mountain College, school districts in the county, and the towns of Oak Creek, Hayden and Yampa support the survey.

People are beginning look at the local economy with a countywide perspective, Ford said.

The survey asks where consumers spend their money on a wide range of goods and services, from groceries and power tools to dentist visits and insurance providers.

The latter half of the questionnaire poses questions about families' childcare, preschool and K-12 needs and preferences.

The survey, which is fairly unique to Colorado, could serve as a model for other mountain resort communities in the state, Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

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