The Town of Parker recently conducted its community survey, which occurs every three years to obtain feedback from residents about their satisfaction with the town and its policies. The town randomly surveyed 3,000 households for the scientific study, and then opened up the survey to remaining community members.
The National Research Center — a Boulder-based research company focused on gathering data for local governments and other public sector organizations — is in charge of randomly selecting residents to survey. The selected households were given the option to take the survey online or receive a paper copy to send in.
The return rate over the past several surveys has ranged from 24% to 26% for the scientific study with an additional 750 responses through the open survey in 2017. The opportunity for all community members to respond closed on July 30.
The survey used to be conducted every two years, but the town changed to every three years in 2017 because they could no longer afford to survey at that frequency. Then in 2020, the survey was postponed until this year because of COVID.
“The survey cost is $29,800, which includes survey preparation, printing and postage, as well as data tabulation, review and reporting,” said Elise Penington, communications director for the Town of Parker.
Michella Kivela, town administrator, explained that the town uses the data from the survey to gauge what is going well and what needs improvement.
“The Parker Community Survey is an essential tool that provides a unique opportunity for town leadership to hear directly from our residents about how we are performing in terms of service delivery,” Kivela said. “This is a chance for our residents to tell us what's going well and where we can improve, which, in turn, helps guide town budget and policy discussions. As a community that fully supports community engagement, we believe the survey is a valuable element in keeping Parker a great place to live and work.”
The survey asks questions about quality of life and sense of community as well as questions of policy and prioritization of public works and events.
“Every year, we ask the same set of general questions, so we can benchmark our performance across the years, and then we can also benchmark that against other municipalities in the metro area or similar ones of our size across the country,” Penington said. “Then we also ask a unique set of policy questions for each survey, so most of it is the same, but we can ask them something that is more timely or if there's a specific issue, we want to get feedback on, so it's just a good way to ask the community how they're feeling about our performance.”
Kivela said that the town tries to make the survey as easy and convenient as possible to encourage maximum resident participation.
“The next survey will take place in 2024 and we will be sure to examine participation trends and make any necessary adjustments at that time,” Kivela said.
Survey results for the randomized, scientific study will be kept separate from the open survey's results and both sets of respnses will be presented to the town council October 11.