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Longboat Key Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 6 months ago

Town gears up for second resident poll

Mailings begin around Jan. 11 with a final report expected in April.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

Town officials are putting the finishing touches on a batch of questions -- some new, some similar to those seen last year -- for the second annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey. 

Kicked off last year, the survey was aimed at two purposes: gauging public interest on a range of topics that were front-and-center and beginning to set a years-long baseline on customer service and resident satisfaction with consistent questions and answers that can be tracked over time. 

Carolyn Brown, the town's director of support services, said the mailings will go out to town residents on Jan. 11. A final report on the survey is expected in April, she said. The survey is again coordinated with the help of University of South Florida's Florida Institute of Government. 

One of the changes for 2021 that will be immediately recognizable by residents is the survey form itself. In 2020, postcards were sent directing residents how and where to respond online. This time around, the notices will arrive in letter form, via first-class mail. 

Of the more than 8,000 notices mailed in 2020, just under 600 were returned, still considered a statistically viable sample. 

Among the 2020 highlights, 97% of respondents said they considered Longboat Key an excellent or good place to live; 94% said the same as a place to retire.

Questions will be asked seeking open-ended answers, multiple-choice answers and answers that ask respondents to rank answers in priorities. 

Among some of the issue-based questions expected to make the cut:

  • What kinds of changes respondents might like to see along Gulf of Mexico Drive, such as revised speed limits, upgraded bike lanes, landscaping and more. 
  • Suggestions on reducing traffic congestion on Gulf of Mexico Drive. 
  • Reasons residents regularly drive off the island, and a question regarding amenities that do not yet exist on Longboat Key.

In a town commission workshop this week, Commissioner BJ Bishop suggested making sure respondents understand many of the questions are being asked during the COVID-19 pandemic, but seek answers from a community unaffected by restrictions or closures.   

In the 2020 survey, town leaders were eager to gauge support for a privately funded arts venue in town. 

When asked about support for “A privately (donor) funded and operated Arts, Cultural and Education Center in the Town Center,’’ survey respondents signaled a small majority of support. Yes responses totaled 51.3% with no responses totaling 24.8% -- 24% responded they were unsure.

 When asked what amenities they would enjoy seeing at an ACE Center if built, 55.9% of respondents said lifelong learning; 51.8% said performing arts; 39.2% said technology education; 38.5% said music and music appreciation. Beyond those responses, 23.8% said arts education; 21.8% said manual arts (such as jewelry making or woodworking) and 3.7% said creative writing.

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