Columbia surveys to gauge resident interest, improve services

Friday, April 8, 2011 | 2:21 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Surveys will be making their way to Columbia mailboxes in the next few days to gauge residents' interest about public safety, utilities and other day-to-day operations.

The responses from the 800 surveys randomly administered to Columbia homes will provide the city with information to improve services.

Four specific areas — communication between residents and government, neighborhood services, unresolved stormwater issues and customer service — are of particular interest to the city, Public Communications Director Toni Messina said.

The survey will contain questions from previous ETC Institute surveys in 2003, 2005 and 2007, as well as new questions. The survey was last administered four years ago.

The city has never asked about customer services in previous ETC Institute surveys, Messina said.

The results of the survey will be available some time in early to mid-June when an ETC Institute consultant will present the findings to city council members, she said.

"The important thing as far as improving what the city does is gauging how satisfied citizens are with a service and how important they think (the service) is," Messina said.

Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine said a previous ETC Institute survey was used to gauge how satisfied the public was with Columbia parks. St. Romaine said the survey was used to discover how much potential support existed for an extension of the park sales tax.

"We felt like the responses that we got from that last survey really indicated a true community support for some of the initiatives that some of our parks have taken on over the last several years," St. Romaine said.

The ETC Institute's return address will be printed on the envelope. The surveys can also be completed online at

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