City survey seeks residents’ input on quality of life
March 2, 2013
A community survey is among the ways Carson City government is angling to learn residents’ views on quality of life and related issues, according to a city consultant.Linda Ritter, former city manager and now a consultant handling quarterly reports and other duties for the Board of Supervisors, said a draft of the survey should be completed so it can start before mid-year.Dr. Gus Hill from the Educational Leadership Department at the University of Nevada, Reno, is assisting with the survey’s development and will help tabulate results, as well as provide outcome analysis.“He’s been a really good resource,” said Ritter, noting work is proceeding with hopes of progress by late spring if questions can be refined and a focus group put together.The goal would be to make the project reflect and represent city demographics, perhaps providing results by ward as well as citywide.Some sample questions in what was labeled “a very rough draft” focus on a range of things.Among them are public safety, interaction with government officials, use of city services such as parks or the library, ease of driving, quality of snow removal, health issues and taxation matters.One proposed question, for example, asks participants to rate the quality of life in Carson City, taking all things into consideration. It provides options of very high, high, neither high nor low, low and very low.Others ask for ratings, with five slots ranging from very good to very bad, regarding quality of a resident’s neighborhood, appearance of commercial areas, and whether it is a place to raise children.About 4,000 surveys will go out when questions get refined. The goal is to get at least 1,500 responses.Any town hall meetings prior to the survey may help in refining questions, Ritter said, and the town halls should dovetail with the goal of taking the community’s pulse regarding quality of life.The first town hall meeting has yet to be set, but is expected to focus on downtown business, usage and traffic issues. Among the hot-button issues in that regard is whether to narrow traffic for a few blocks through downtown on Carson Street from four lanes to two and add parallel parking. Ritter, whose firm is called Ritter Consulting Associates Inc., not only serves as a city consultant but recently was named interim director of Carson City’s Convention and Visitors Bureau for eight weeks.