Called to order at 7:09 am by chair Mikus. Present were Mikus, Burdett, Lyon, Wagner, Wade-Ellis, Woodruff and guest Mary Senter of CMU’s CARRS (The Center for Applied Research and Rural Studies)
Mary Senter addressed the committee on what a professional survey is and what it can (and cannot) do.
Mailings are less expensive, but have a lower response rate, cannot be easily tailored to responder’s circumstances. Phone surveys are more costly at about $30 per completed response. Union Township already has commitments fromand Vision 20/20 for cost sharing, and CMU has offered a reduced cost as an in-kind Grant.
Phone Surveys utilize CATI (Computer Aided Telephone Interview) software. This allows a question tree to be developed where initial questions help guide the interview and tailor set of specific questions. This ensures a maximum of pertinent questions. A typical interview is no longer than 15 minutes and can go through about 75 questions. One problem with the phone survey today is the growing use of cell phones as peoples only phone.is not available as public information for cells.
The townships population needs about 400 random calls to obtain a plus/minus a reliability of 5%. A good survey cannot make the tough decisions, but is vital to good decision making. The public has demonstrated a desire to be engaged with local government, to comment and voice opinion, and be connected as evidenced by recent developments such as Sound Off and newspaper comment blogs as well as other independent bloggers.
CARRS will interview stakeholders and generate questions that solicit unbiased opinions. Wording of a question can affect the response. It was the task force’s consensus that all stakeholders be engaged as soon as possible. Topics identified included policing, recycling, economic development and satisfaction. Groups that were identified in addition to the sustainability task force were the township board, planning commission, DDAs, Mt Pleasant area beyond the township boarders would be beneficial and the CATI software can track where responders reside, compare opinions of residents and neighboring residents. An example would be to survey opinions on intergovernmental cooperation, not only do we want to know if our residents want this, but is it welcomed from those around us?, and township staff. It was also suggested that a survey population of the greater
Woody Woodruff, Secretary