Nearly 700 respond to community survey

The 2009 Salida Community Survey was distributed in November 2009 in an effort to obtain feedback about the status of our community and priorities for the future. Results of the survey will be discussed at the upcoming public workshop on Tuesday, December 8th at the Salida SteamPlant from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

A survey can be an effective tool to collect information and opinions that reflect the population of the community. This survey asked for both factual information and opinions from citizens.

The survey was mailed to all 3,851 active and inactive registered voters on the current list kept by the Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder’s office. In addition, the survey could be filled out electronically on the City of Salida website using SurveyMonkey.com.

The questions on the survey were developed using several examples of surveys from other Colorado communities. These questions were reviewed for relevance to Salida and in some cases modified to better suit our community.

The total number of responses was 696, of these 410 responses were captured through the online survey and 286 returned the paper surveys that had been mailed to registered voters. Each paper survey was entered manually into SurveyMonkey by staff of the Community Development Department.

According to the most recent census in 2000, there were 5,504 residents in Salida, of whom 4,324 were over 18 years of age. Based on those numbers, the survey had a 16% response rate from our adult population.

The most selected reason that people live in Salida is the small town atmosphere followed by climate and recreational amenities. While we can not do much about the weather, the City can try to better understand the valued characteristics of our small town. As the City grows and changes in the future we should work to ensure our unique community character remains in the future.

When considering the best way for local government to communicate to citizens, 92% of respondents say they use The Mountain Mail to find out about local events and issues. The next most common method of communication was word of mouth at 76%. So whether it is in the chair at Larry’s Barber Shop or drinking coffee at the Salida Café, citizens look to their friends and neighbors to stay informed.

Some of the issues that rose to the top of people’s concerns for the future include new job opportunities, affordable housing and maintenance of streets and infrastructure. These and other priorities identified in the survey will be considered when making policy and budget decisions for the City in the future.

It is the hope of the Community Development Department that the survey results will be used to inform the City Council, Planning Commission and citizens about the status of our City. The results of the survey will help to inform the principals and policies contained in the Comprehensive Plan and will serve as a baseline for periodic surveys of the citizens of the community.

Please join us December 8th at the SteamPlant for further discussion about the future of our community.

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