Response to ‘City survey a waste’ editorial

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 29, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

Your opinion piece that appeared Aug. 25 with the headline, City survey a waste, prompted me to write this letter.

First of all the survey didn’t cost $10,000 as you claim.

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It cost less than $9,000 and was awarded to the lowest bidder in a competitive bidding process at a fair price.

Had we mailed surveys to every household, as you suggest, and tabulated the results, the cost would have been far greater and would not have been as reliable as the statistically valid, randomly-selected household survey that we did conduct.

It’s also important for everyone to know that the survey was never intended to measure how City Council members are doing, and it was not designed to &uot;chart the way for future growth.&uot;

This was a survey about city services.

The research firm, who wanted to respect residents’ time, couldn’t ask about every single service the city provides, but they did include a fairly comprehensive list of city services and characteristics.

For most communities of our size, the use of statistically valid surveys, like the one we just conducted, is standard operating procedure, and nearly all communities in Hampton Roads use surveys as a way to monitor satisfaction with the services they provide.

It’s not about growth, and it’s not about elected officials. It’s about gathering data that can help the City of Suffolk be more responsive to our residents.

Dennis Craff

Director of Communications

City of Suffolk