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Survey asks for residents’ opinions

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The city of Cottonwood has mailed its fourth citizen satisfaction survey to residents via their water/sewer utility bills.

According to the city, the purpose of sending the survey out with water bills is to allow “citizens who live outside the city boundaries [the] ability to provide feedback, as they are regular users of our facilities and community.”

“It’s not a scientific study, but you certainly begin to see themes that come through in the survey,” Cottonwood City Manager Doug Bartosh said. “They’re certainly useful to the [City] Council .... What are the concerns? What are we doing well? What are we not doing well?”

According to Sandra Salas, assistant to the city manager, the information obtained through the past surveys, including an open space to express items not found on the survey, has shaped City Council priorities “as they create their strategic plan for the year.”

In the first survey results, Salas said, residents expressed concern about roads and sidewalks, leading to several road reconstruction projects and installation of new sidewalks.

“In 2014, concern was expressed about the condition of sports facilities and the business friendliness of the city,” Salas said. “That input led to greater maintenance attention at our sports facilities and further development of the Business Assistance Center that provides assistance to small or athome businesses.”

A lot of times, Bartosh said, the results are are “not necessarily a surprise,” but a confirmation of what he, city staff, City Council and community members already know or suspect.

“We get a lot of complaints about the differential [water] rate,” Bartosh said of the separate rates those in the city boundaries and outside them pay. “We know a lot of people don’t like it or think it’s fair.”

According to Bartosh, if the person leaves his or her contact information, he or another staff member try to call and inform the individual about why the differential rate exists. If their concerns are about issues handled by the county, particularly roads, Bartosh contacts the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.

“We still hear about streets, and we continue to work on them,” Bartosh said, an effort made easier by differentiating between who lives in the city and who does not, which the city has done since 2012. Only about 10 percent of surveys have been returned during the last three survey periods, according to Salas.

“We would always like to see that return rate improve so we get the widest span of feedback,” Salas said. “We appreciate that everyone has a busy schedule and filling out a survey is probably the last thing you want to do. “However, we really do find the feedback useful and we do take the information seriously as we strive to make the city a better place to live, work and visit.”

Surveys can be enclosed in the envelope when mailing back water/sewer utility bills. Additionally, they may be dropped off at any of the city of Cottonwood offices. Later this year, results from the survey will be presented during a City Council session and will be available via the press or the website cottonwoodaz.gov.

If you have any questions, contact City Hall at 634-5526.

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