City to discuss survey update

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The city is looking to update its 2002 Community Survey as an add-on to its second-home owners study.

In the fall, the Steamboat Springs City Council agreed to join the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments. Part of the reason for joining was to take advantage of an in-depth second-home owners study the organization did.

Organization officials said that for $14,350, they would complete the second-home owner study, and for no extra cost, they would do an additional survey that would update the three-year-old community survey.

The update to the community survey would be sent only to those people listed in the Routt County Assessor's database. Using other databases to send out surveys would cost the city extra money.

"We can do the second-home owners survey, and we can do a community survey, but it will be nothing like the one we did in 2002," City Manager Paul Hughes told the City Council almost a week ago.

The Northwest Colorado Council of Governments proposal would survey only property owners and would send out 2,000 surveys.

At Tuesday's meeting, council members will decide if they want to update the 2002 Community Survey and, if so, what databases to use and what questions to ask.

In 2002, the city sent out 4,500 surveys using the Routt County Assessor's database, voter registration addresses, a credit-service list of addresses and Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association addresses.

The city had 1,082 surveys returned. The 2002 survey cost the city $26,000.

In a memo to the council, city staff noted that it would cost $18,700 to add registered voters to the survey update and $23,000 to add business owners.

City Deputy Manager Wendy DuBord said the information from the community survey helps the council make decisions about budgeting and what projects to finance.

"Quite frankly, most (communities) survey every year, and most that survey update every other year. (We are) in our third year," DuBord said.

In the last community survey, council members raised concerns about the lack of response from residents younger than 35, DuBord said. Other council members were concerned about mailing surveys to Chamber members, fearing results would be skewed.

Staff members have proposed reducing the number of questions in the updated community survey. Some residents said it took about an hour to complete the 2002 Community Survey.

They have suggested taking out questions rating residents' satisfaction with police services, parks and recreation services and the city's communication with the public. Questions about affordable housing and special-event funding also are marked for removal.

The final results of the 2002 Community Survey indicated that protecting the environment and managing growth were top priorities the city should have. The survey results also sent a clear message that tax money should go toward preserving open space and building trails and bike paths.

A community survey also was done in 1999 and produced similar findings.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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