Survey to evaluate public income

Monday, April 23, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:07 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some residents can expect a follow-up survey phone call from ETC Institute this spring. ETC Institute, contracted with the city, will be calling to verify that citizen surveys, distributed to 1,200 residents, are completed.

During the last citizen survey in 2005, 20 percent of survey participants checked the yearly income box for $30,000 and under. At a pre-council meeting April 2, First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton requested that additional members of this income group take surveys to ensure the collected data accurately describes the income group’s views and concerns.

The pre-addressed, postage-free surveys were sent Saturday to 1,200 randomly chosen Columbia residents.

Additional surveying will include 100 extra surveys distributed to residents earning $15,000 or less a year.

Crayton said she will distribute surveys to a small number of residents she feels reflect the opinion of this income group. Two new income categories of less than $15,000 and $15,000 to $30,000 were added to the survey to get a better opinion of income views.

The extra surveys cost $25.83 apiece, adding $2,583 to the initial survey expense for the city. The ETC Institute will count the results of the extra surveys and compare them with the broader survey group of 1,200.

To ensure that the collected data reflect a 95 percent confidence level, 600 of the 1,200 surveys must be completed. Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine said he encourages residents to take the time to submit the surveys.

The surveys are “seen as a report card, a grade on how well our local government is doing,” St. Romaine said. Half of the survey questions are recurring questions that serve as a benchmark to compare present data with past data.

ETC will have the initial data work compiled by mid-May, St. Romaine said. A report to City Council will be presented during the council retreat in June, he said.

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