The Haas Center at the University of West Florida is conducting its third annual Pensacola Community Survey, in a partnership with the City of Pensacola.
Mayor Ashton Hayward took to Facebook to announce the project, saying the responses will help balance priorities and upgrade services.
“We want to make sure we’re delivering the best that we can for our taxpayers and our citizens,” Hayward said. “I think it’s very important to measure that every year, get the feedback from the community.”
The 2015 survey was released last January, showing that respondents were happy with the Fire Department, city parks and sanitation. But Stormwater infrastructure -- not so much after the flooding in 2014.
“When I got into office, our stormwater fee went up a little bit, because I understood coming from the private sector,” said Hayward. “We collect about two million dollars a year in stormwater fees now. Since the flood, $20 million we’ve been able to get from grants to put in new stormwater [protection].”
As the 2016 survey is being conducted, the Mayor is hoping that part of it will focus on is the introduction of new technology. He points to the city’s 311 information hotline, which began a few years ago.
“We’re shooting for at least 400 [respondents], which allows us to have a statistically significant sample,” said the Haas Center’s Amy Newburn, who once again is overseeing what she calls a “multi-modal” blend of the surveys, with a twist this year.
“We’re still reaching a random list of city residents on the phone, but we’re also going out into the public within the city,” Newburn said. “We’ll be at events and festivals [and] Palafox Market, to try to get people to take the survey as well as collect their email address if they’d rather do it at home.”
The only criteria to take the survey are: you must be at least 18 years old, and live within the Pensacola city limits. The questions are similar to those in the first two surveys. Since this is a collaborative process between the Haas Center and the city, the latter has input on the questions.
“How’s the city doing? We always want to ask that question, how we can be doing things better as a government?” said Mayor Ashton Hayward.
When the numbers are crunched, categories such as fire service, waste collection, housing and communication are graded from A to F. Newburn says the grade is based on the mean score of all respondents.
As with the 2015 survey, work on the 2016 study is going on in the fourth quarter of the year. The results will be first presented to the city in mid-December to early January. Afterward, the city will release them to the public.