In the spring of 2010, the City of Turlock management sent a survey targeted at the residents of the Turlock. The survey was distributed through the utility bills to 18,607 customers in one billing cycle. The survey gave the survey participants an opportunity to voice opinions and give feedback for the allocation of federal funds that could be received by the city. The response of 1,422 surveys was significantly greater than anticipated.
Interim Assistant to the City Manager Maryn Pitt stated that the survey was part of the required housing program by the Department of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) .
“Quite frankly I was thinking we were going to get a couple hundred back,” said Pitt. “But we basically swamped the post office with our business reply mail.”
After receiving many more responses than expected, and not knowing how the City would be able to find the resources to tabulate the data, City Officials requested CSU Stanislaus Executive MBA students’ assistance in analyzing the survey results.
The University’s 15-month EMBA program offers students an advanced, accelerated professional business education. It provides its graduates with the knowledge, experience and skills to advance into leadership positions within their respective organizations.
California State University, Stanislaus Executive Master of Business Administration students presented the results of a Turlock city-wide survey at Tuesday’s Turlock City Council Meeting. The analysis was volunteered by the students of the program as they spent 300 hours on the survey report.
The results of the survey will help determine how the city will use its federal stimulus funds.
The survey questions were divided into categories representing City agencies, programs and interests for: Housing; Anti-Poverty; Human Services; Homeless; Persons with Disabilities; Seniors/Elderly; Public Safety; Youth; Public Facilities; Infrastructure Improvements; and comments areas for Other Needs.
The key findings of the survey are represented by the high and the low data results from citizen respondents. These findings provide key implications for policymakers and provide program management insight into community desires.
In analyzing the data taken from the surveys, the following observations were made:
The top five community priorities ranked low were Housing, Infrastructure/Improvements, Public Facilities, Persons with Disabilities, and Human Services. The community priorities ranked low represents the survey participants’ opinions concerning how the federal funds should not be spent.
The top five community priorities ranked high were Anti-poverty, Human Services, Public Safety, Youth, and Seniors/Elderly. The community priorities ranked high represents the survey participants’ opinions concerning how the federal funds should be spent.
With 33.2 percent of the survey respondents ranking Anti-Poverty high on the priority list, the subcategories and position of priority by percent of respondents were: Job Creation at 65.9 percent, Job Training at 51.4 percent, and Small Business Development at 45.5 percent.
Human Services came in with 32.5 percent of the survey respondents ranking the category high on the priority list while the subcategories and position of priority by percent of respondents were: Health Services at 42.1 percent, Abused and Neglected Individuals at 40.6 percent, and Food Banks/ Food Programs at 40.4 percent.
32.1 percent of the survey respondents ranked Public Safety high and the subcategories and position of priority by percent of respondents were: Neighborhood Crime Prevention at 63.7 percent and Housing Code Violations at 24 percent.
470 of the returned surveys had a total of 960 comments that were hand written by the survey respondents. These comments were grouped under 40 general headings, counted and ranked.
The category, ranking and number of handwritten comments were:
Road Repair/improvement #1 with 234 comments, Police & Fire Issues #2 with 60 comments, Youth programs #3 with 52 comments, Business Incentive Programs #4 with 51 comments, Homeless #5 with 43 comments, Lower/ Refund Taxes Permits #6 with 41 comments, Counseling/ Training #7 with 33 comments, Code Enforcement #8 with 32 comments, Illegal Alien issues #9 with 32 comments, Parks & Recreation #10 with 31 comments, Gangs # 11 with 27 comments, Clean up programs #12 with 26 comments, Job Creation/ Help #13 with 16 comments, Council Issues #14 with 13 comments, Rent #15 with 13 comments, Schools #16 with 13 comments, Animal Control & Shelters #17 with 12 comments, Street Lights #18 with 10 comments, Job Works Programs # 19 with 9 comments, Sidewalks #20 with 9 comments, Traffic/ Traffic lights #21 with 9 comments, Trees- Trimming & Problems #22 with 9 comments, Bicycle Paths #23 with 8 comments, Dog Park #24 with 7 comments, Security #25 with 7 comments, Graffiti #26 with 6 comments, Growth of community #27 with 6 comments, Abuse #28 with 5 comments, Post Office #9 with 5 comments, Restrooms in Parks #30 with 5 comments, Utility Assistance #31 with 5 comments, Code Enforcement # 32 with 4 comments, Drug Enforcement #33 with 4 comments, Golf # 34 with 4 comments, Water #35 with 4 comments, Childcare #36 with 3 comments, Library #37 with 3 comments, Recycling #38 with 3 comments, Curfew #39 with 2 comments, Financing Assistance #40 with 2 comments.
Councilman Forrest White questioned how there were 234 comments, the most stated, for the area of road repair and improvements while infrastructure and improvements ranked low on the community’s priority list.
The CSU Stanislaus Executive MBA group concluded that there may have been confusion between the spirit of the questions and the responses but that road repair was very, very significant upon respondents.
Councilwoman Amy Bublak hopes to utilize the services of the CSU Stanislaus Executive MBA program more in the future after the group offered their potential services to the Council, and maybe even in a future discussion on whether or not the community wants to do anything with the big box ordinance.