County launches citizen survey
Ryan Summerlin April 2, 2013
The Summit County Council is hoping a new survey being mailed out this week will coax constituents into giving them more feedback. The surveys are being sent to a random sample of 3,000 residents throughout the county.
According to Richard Krannich, a sociology professor at Utah State University who is conducting the survey, 1,000 packets will be sent to each region: North Summit, South Summit and the West Side which encompasses Park City and the Snyderville Basin.
Krannich said the questions range over a variety of topics covering "county services, programs and priorities."
"The focus is taking the pulse of Summit County, what they think and what they want," he said in an telephone interview from his office at the University.
Krannich conducted a similar study in 2011, but he says conditions have changed since then. In particular, he said, the economic recovery may have shifted how residents feel about growth and development.
"Two years have come and gone. The conversation may be changing," he said, adding, "There is some indication the economy may be turning around. So, if development comes back, how do people want to see it directed?"
Of the 3,000 packets that are mailed, Krannich said he hopes 1,200 to 1,500 will be filled out and returned. Participants will have the option of filling out and returning the printed survey by mail or answering the questions online.
Krannich, who has been conducting similar studies for communities around the West for more than 30 years, said he designed the questions with input from the county council and administrators. Various sections of the survey address citizens’ perception of their quality of life including concerns about the environment and safety from crime. Other sections ask about specific service levels such as those pertaining to libraries and senior citizens.
The survey will offer the council some "high quality data," he said adding that the council is anxious to incorporate the information into future policy decisions.
"People want their voices heard, but they don’t all have time to go to meetings or contact elected officials. This gives them an easy way to do that.
"This is a very proactive effort by the council," he said.
The cost of the survey is $38,258.