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Manatee encourages feedback on county issues with citizen survey

Manatee County is seeking input on major issues through an online citizen survey.
Manatee County is seeking input on major issues through an online citizen survey.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer
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Do you think Manatee County is an affordable place to live? Is it safe? Is the local government improving your quality of life?

It’s your turn to provide feedback. Manatee County is seeking input on its services in the form of an online citizen survey, which only took Commissioner Mike Rahn about three minutes to complete.

“It’s a pretty simple survey, but it gives us a pulse for where the citizens stand on certain issues,” Rahn said. “It gives us a good insight into what they’re thinking and where we need to keep focusing our efforts.”

The citizen survey is a new initiative for 2024 created by the county’s communications team.

“The survey is anticipated to be an ongoing endeavor with no anticipated end date,” Information Outreach Manager Bill Logan said. “Questions may be added or deleted based on prior responses. Residents are encouraged to check back and offer their feedback on the new questions as they’re posted.”

The team created the questions to be clear and concise while representing a cross section of activities and avoiding bias and open-ended answers. Most of the 10 questions are multiple choice while two ask for a star ratings on a scale from 1-10.

Question topics include traffic, growth, utilities and the county’s performance. After the questions are answered, the survey asks for the citizen’s age range and to click on a map to indicate the area in which he or she lives. That’s it. No email or identifying information required.

Logan said the responses will be used internally to help build communications campaigns, enhance messaging, augment on-going outreach and maintain engagement with residents.

So what’s in it for residents? There’s power in numbers.

“We could sit here and say, ‘One person reached out to me and wants Sunday bus service,’ and that’s great, but that’s millions of dollars. Is that really what the public, as a whole, is interested in or just a few people are interested in,” Commissioner George Kruse said.

Will people think commissioners will take the survey seriously? 

Kruse mentioned petitions of over 3,000 signatures being ignored, which was the case when the board voted 5-1 to reduce wetland buffers in October. 

While the survey doesn’t address the wetlands specifically, it asks if residents think the county is taking adequate measures to protect environmentally sensitive lands. It also asks residents to rate the job Manatee County government is doing to improve their quality of life on a scale of 1-10 stars. 

“I can’t guarantee that successful completion of a survey is going to result in what you want, but it’s certainly not going to hinder it,” Kruse said. 

Two questions target libraries and parks because gauging resident use can help allocate resources effectively. 

“If a significant portion of the population frequently uses the library, it may justify investing more in library facilities, resources, and programs,” Logan said. “If certain parks are heavily utilized, the county can allocate funds for maintenance, upgrades or the creation of new parks to meet the demand.” 

This is your chance to weigh in on the issues and rate your county government’s job performance in five minutes or less. Visit to take the survey. From the home page, it can be found under the "Board of County Commissioners" tab. 

“How the information is handled depends largely on the information received,” Logan said. 



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

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