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April 19, 2011 7:23 am

EDITORIAL: Making their voices heard

Written by Tessa Schweigert

City leaders should consider residents’ survey responses in decision making

A couple of months ago, the city of Powell posed nine questions to residents and members of the local business community. In recent weeks, they received hundreds of answers.

Not only did 780 residents respond to the nine written questions, many filled the margins of the survey with handwritten comments — dozens upon dozens.

Some were positive: “Thank you wonderful city of Powell.”

Many others were critical: “Too much waste seen in city government” and “I think the city needs to take a hard look at holding the spending line and using employees from other departments to help out. Because you can’t keep raising rates, there is only so much money to go around.”

It’s good to see local residents — about one out of three — took the time to respond to the city survey and that many wrote their own opinions, suggestions, criticisms and praises, even though there wasn’t a designated space for comments.

The high response rate shows Powell residents care about their local government, and they want their voices heard.

Beyond the topics addressed in the nine questions, the written comments shed light on some residents’ dissatisfaction of other areas of city operations — such as the Powell Aquatic Center, Homesteader rest area, street lighting and sidewalks.

The survey responses also show a lack of awareness among some residents. Certain comments bashed the city for tearing down the school buildings — when in fact the Park County School District No. 1 board, not the city of Powell, makes all of those decisions.

Still, whether positive or critical or even uninformed, all responses serve as a useful gauge of local residents’ viewpoints. And each comment was tallied in the survey results, so no opinion went unheard.

Now that the city of Powell has heard from hundreds of residents, they must take a serious look at the results and comments.

City Administrator Zane Logan said the city staff is taking the responses to heart, and each department head will consider the comments related to his or her department.

Mayor Scott Mangold said the survey responses serve as a good guide as the Powell City Council heads into budget planning for the next fiscal year.

The wide range of comments proves it’s impossible to please everyone. That’s a given. Yet the city’s survey shows local leaders are willing to listen — and that goes a long way in strengthening and improving city government.

2 comments

  • Comment Link April 19, 2011 9:27 am posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    Not very many returns for a population this size.If people in Powell were truly "conservatives" they would have jumped on this like a chicken on a Junebug.

  • Comment Link April 22, 2011 12:22 pm posted by Steve Moseley

    Insert "curmudgeons" for "conservatives" and this writer's statement might actually make a flicker of sense. At the very least it would characterize Disgusted Taxpayer's lousy attitude. My suggestion: Move to Philly. You'll fit right in there.

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