Biennial phone survey for New Albany residents slated through Aug. 4

ThisWeek News – July 20, 2020

A community survey that will be carried out via phone calls to New Albany residents includes questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, diversity and inclusion and city services.

The survey is scheduled to begin Wednesday, July 22, and runs through Tuesday, Aug. 4, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.

The city last conducted the resident survey in 2018, and it marked the first time such a survey was administered in more than a decade, McAfee said.

The city has committed to the surveys every other year to obtain residents’ feedback regarding services and quality of life, he said.

This year, the city added questions about the pandemic and diversity and inclusion because of current events, McAfee said.

The survey is being conducted by Saperstein Associates at a $20,000 cost to the city, McAfee said.

About 300 people likely will be contacted for the survey, he said.

Results likely will be ready in mid-September, when they will be presented to New Albany City Council, McAfee said.

Marty Saperstein, president of Saperstein Associates, said his company has completed similar surveys for Delaware, Dublin, Grove City, Powell and Whitehall.

These surveys give residents an opportunity to share preferences and values with leaders in their communities, he said.

And although city services are important, current events particularly are important right now, Saperstein said. Some might argue that these issues have a more significant impact on residents than the approval rating of city services, he said.

The average time per resident for the 2018 phone survey was 18 minutes, and this year’s survey “will be in that same ballpark,” Saperstein said.

Surveyors typically will not leave messages if no one answers the phone call, he said. However, in small communities like New Albany, they might leave messages when they run low on phone numbers, he said.

Saperstein said registered-voter lists provide good representative community samples.

Although the residents who typically contact council members or attending council meetings might have their own agendas, those agendas might not be representative of the greater community, Saperstein said. Phone surveys are an easy way for residents to voice opinions about issues important to them, he said.

“We’re doing it for the community,” Saperstein said.