Public safety, economic development among topics citizens can weigh in on
The citizens of Stallings will soon get an opportunity to express their views on the quality of life in the town.
At the Feb. 28 town council meeting, council members voted to create a citizen survey that will gauge public opinion on such topics as economic development, public safety and enforcement of laws.
The survey results will give council members a view of the issues that are most pressing in the public’s mind, and to prioritize how best to use the public’s money to attend to those issues.
“We are here to vote on tax dollars,” council man Paul Frost said.
All 5500 Stallings’ households will get a chance to complete the survey despite, as town manager Brian Matthews pointed out to the council, it not being necessary that every member of the Stallings’ community answer the assessment to get an accurate gauge of public sentiment.
The researcher can use mathematical equations to determine the public’s will with only a percentage of the households in the town completing the survey.
While it would be cheaper for only a percentage of the households to receive the survey, Mayor Lynda Paxton and other council members indicated it was only fair that the entire public had its chance to voice their thoughts.
The job of designing the survey and interpreting the results will fall to Dr. Paul Friday, a criminal justice and criminology professor at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“I believe his qualifications are head and shoulders above the other two,” Paxton said.
In addition to Dr. Friday, research companies Bear Strategies and Insight Research, Inc. submitted proposals to the town council.
In the end, Dr. Friday impressed the council the most.
Dr. Friday completed his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin in 1970. He has completed research surveys for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department, Cabarrus County juvenile crime prevention council, Mecklenburg County and Union County public schools among others.
In addition to Dr. Friday’s experience, his bid to produce and interpret the survey also gave him leg up on the competition. His proposed cost to the city of $8,361 was almost $1900 cheaper than Bear Strategies’ proposal and nearly $3100 less than Insight Research, Inc.’s proposal.
The council also discussed which questions would comprise the survey and how they should be worded.
Working from an early draft of the citizen survey, the council made suggestions it believed would best give the study a chance to be a valuable tool in making the citizens of Stallings delighted with their town.
In the end the council agreed to inform Dr. Friday of the issues they wanted the questions to address, but would leave it up to him the best way to word the questions.
“That is what he does,” Matthews said.