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PTC needs group may pre-test survey

Due to concerns over length and clarity, the Peachtree City needs assessment survey may be taken for a test drive.

The concept, discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the needs assessment committee, is that several residents would be asked to read through the survey and see if it is too long and/or arduous ... and also to make sure that regular citizens understand the questions.

To get scientifically-reliable data back from the survey, the committee plans to randomly select households to receive a mailed invitation encouraging them to go online to complete the survey. Because of the random nature, just 400 responses will give the city a reasonable sampling of the populace with a plus-minus 5 percent margin of error.

Talk Thursday also drifted to whether the survey would ask demographic questions such as age, sex and income level. If such topics are broached, it would provide a good way to determine who actually responded to the survey, as it is assumed that not every household invited to do so will participate.

Committee member John Dufresne noted that if the survey skews with an older crowd, it would counteract the results on certain questions such as those about recreation. Dufresne said with his kids grown up and out of the home, he is not personally as concerned about recreation except for the cart path system.

Dufresne encouraged committee members to develop questions dealing with their particular interest in the city.

So far Dufresne with help from committee member Allen Baldwin have crafted survey questions and the entire group is going to be providing input via email as the process continues even over the holiday break.

Because of the potential for under-participation, the committee discussed soliciting local businesses for donations to offer as prizes for those who take the time to complete the document. While that was received as an interesting idea, there was also a sentiment that doing so would demean the residents.

No decision was made on the concept, which was tabled until a future committee meeting.

No matter what ultimately transpires, the survey will help the needs assessment committee recommend a millage rate for the city along with potential areas to cut expenses. The committee is hoping to get the survey rolling in January with an eye on making an early spring deadline to present the data to City Council at its annual workshop meeting. But truly the budget gets cracked open much later in the year, starting around May.

Beyond this budget year, the survey and the committee’s recommendations will also have a longer-term impact given the potential election of three new council members next November as the term of Mayor and two council seats expires, noted Mayor Don Haddix.

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