$35,000 to ask us what we want and do not want? Will they listen?

The City of Toledo is considering this week
whether to spend $35,000 with a company that would gauge how the
citizens think their tax money should be used.
City council is expected to vote tomorrow on a proposal from the
Finkbeiner administration to hire ETC Institute, of Olathe, Kan., to
conduct a multi-level survey of Toledoans.
"They are going to come in and actually poll the citizens through a
survey methodology to get a feel of what's important and what is not,"
said David Moebius, assistant chief of staff for Mayor Carty
Finkbeiner. "This would be anything that would range from leaf
collection, to snow removal, to the level of services provided to
parks, utilities, police, and fire."
Mr. Moebius added: "We sprinkle a lot of money over a lot of different
projects and a lot of programs, and our intent is to see for which ones
we should be and which we shouldn't be."

The survey would question people through the mail, phone, and Internet.



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Spend, Spend Spend! This is simple and cheep, yet they want to spend.
Hum..set up a phone bank and take calls. I don't think you need to HIRE a company to do what 3 people and 3 phone lines can do.

I've conducted and used market research frequently during my business career. I understand its strengths and limitations. Done with an attitude that says, "I really want to know", could make the survey a powerful tool for developing a vision and action steps that mirrors what the community wants and becomes a blueprint for the future.

However, depending on how the survey is structured including what questions and how they are asked as well as assuring responses based upon local demographics can be manipulated. It is wise to look behind the curtain and find out the detail.

Many who comment on this blog have pointed out issues such as this in other threads.

Finally, you might get a great survey, but how it is used by elected leaders should also be of concern - they could ignore it or use it to develop a "be happy don't worry" marketing campaign.

I'll reserve judgment as to whether this is a good or bad use of taxpayer money at this point - I don't have a crystal ball. But I do expect this to be conducted and used in an appropriate manner.

So I guess this goes to motivation and intent.

Where do they keep coming up with all this money when they cry broke all the day through? 35k here, 40k there...on and on and on........

In some respects, the voters, such as they are, have stated in not so many words what they want. While I agree that some surveys are useful, I don't think Toledo is in a financial position to keep spending on the "little things" when it cannot afford the "BIG" things because of the petty wasting. A survey of the population can be conducted by already on staff people and a few phone lines and the web page. Heck, they could even enlist the media outlets and churches, banks, civic organizations to assist in the collection of data.

For example, since the Water meter readers are doing inspections as they travel, why can't they drop a printed survey on the door as well? Likewise, a flyer can be set at various locations around the city, the library, banks, stores, in the news papers, online etc. There are many ways to do a survey without shelling out a lot of cash for it. After all, the city does have it's own print shop.

As for motive..and use, well, one can only guess. It's like flipping a coin with Carty. He may use it to skate out of impending trouble or he may use it to justify his actions past and future.

It's brilliant to ask the people, a no brainer really. After all, the elected work for the people. I too would survey the citizens, but I'd be much more creative and cost efficent doing it. Since the Mayor doesn't seem to have his crooked finger on the pulse of the people, perhaps he should pay for this out of his own paycheck. If his "Towne Halls" were effective, he'd have a better idea of what to do.

I see a broader problem here. I've sat through many a council meeting, and nobody else is there. Apathy is the result of the elected not listening. If the government wants the population to care, they have to listen and act upon the information. Not just sweep it under a rug and do as they want anyway.

People are often fickel, cast a vote without knowing the facts and the ramifications and have gotten so use to not being heard they just stop talking. If the leadership were to be comepletely honest about everything, they'd loose their job today.

How much credibility would a survey conducted by City employees have? Probably not much credibility. Since the citizens are very suspicious of the current administration, its probably best to have an independent organization conduct the survey. But, like someone else said, if you ask the right questions and ask the the questions the right way, the results will make the most dire situation look wonderful. In addition, it could go the other way and make the situation look really bad which would justify raising taxes and fees.

They probably got it from the so called savings they received from the discriminatory firing of Griffin, Morehead and Daugherty.

Maggie, I respect your concerns about the sample size but I do not agree.

Having studied and used surveys in the past I know the size matters very little. Instead it's the philosophy of the polster and the method they use that's the most important.

I'd like to hear the method the survey will use (what days they poll, how they get the respondents, and what questions are asked) before I make a judgement as to if the money is spent well or not.



sampling size and methodology...but - if you're not one of the people surveyed AND you want to share your thoughts on the matter, what is your option?

I think there needs to be a way for others to participate in telling the elected officials about the priorities. Perhaps in addition to the statistical sampling the company does?

I see your point maggie.

I don't think you'd want that involved in the survey because those who are motivated enough to share their thoughts will skew a survey because it's not random.

The city could easily start a web page to get input from citizens. As you forwarded you before I emailed the city on the utilities last month. So there are cheap ways to found out that tie up very little manpower.



If someone really wants to share their thoughts on how the city is run they shouldn't wait for a survey. Anyone can write a letter to their mayor or council person at anytime or call city hall. There is also the option of writing the local paper or even calling in to radio talk shows.

The survey needs to be controlled in order to get a proper sampling of the public.

Here is ETC's website with a link to the DirectionFinder program they have:


The Environment, Utilities & Public Service Committee is holding a meeting about this today in Council Chambers from 4:00 to 5:30.

If you cannot trust your Government to be honest and forthright: Why they heck are they in office????? Hum???????????????????????

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