City to mail about 2,400 citizen surveys

Monday, April 8, 2013 | 12:46 p.m. CDT; updated 6:56 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 8, 2013
In the next few days, Columbia residents will have the chance to give some of their civic leaders feedback on their performance. The city of Columbia is sending out 2,400 citizen satisfaction surveys to a random sample of households.

The last time the city commissioned the survey in 2011, the results showed residents were most satisfied with Parks and Recreation programs and facilities and least satisfied with the conditions of city streets.

COLUMBIA — The city of Columbia is mailing out about 2,400 citizen satisfaction surveys to a random sample of households during the next few days to seek views on city services and issues.

The survey will inquire about the Columbia Regional Airport, public health services, communication preferences and customer services, according to a news release from Civic Relations Manager Toni Messina.

Messina said in the release that every resident who responds to the survey helps city officials ensure that their priorities are in step with residents' priorities and needs. In 2011, survey responses indicated dissatisfaction with Columbia's street maintenance, prompting the City Council to allocate more money for street repair.

The surveys should arrive at homes this week with postage-paid return envelopes addressed to the ETC Institute, the consultant that has conducted Columbia's citizen surveys since 2003.

The institute also will make reminder calls to households that received the mailed surveys to encourage participation. Residents can respond to the survey during those calls.

The survey is also available online. Anyone can take the online survey, but responses from the random sample will be counted separately to ensure statistical integrity.

Messina said the city is hoping for about 800 mail or phone responses. That would give the survey a 95 percent level of statistical reliability.

"It will give a generalization of what people are thinking," Messina said.

The city has sent out a citizen survey about every other year since 2003 but will begin annual inquiries, Messina said.

"The data is better if you do it more frequently," she said.

The next citizen survey is scheduled for around fall 2014.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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Richard Saunders April 8, 2013 | 5:52 p.m.

Question 1: Which statement bests captures your beliefs.
a) I like fancy airports and parking garages.
b) I love them.
c) I'm absolutely head over heals in love with them.

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