Cary might call you as part of survey project

aspecht@newsobserver.comJanuary 16, 2014 

— A research firm wants to chat with Cary residents.

The town has commissioned Virginia-based BKL Research for $34,670 to conduct telephone interviews with more than 400 residents as part of the town’s Biennial Survey.

The survey will continue until February. It takes about 25 minutes and includes 60 questions about the town and its services.

Residents can answer survey questions anonymously, though surveyors will ask residents about their age, gender, race and education.

Cary uses the results to shape its policies and improve town services.

For example, the police and fire departments use some of the survey results when they apply for accreditation, according to Cary spokeswoman Susan Moran.

The town also reviewed survey responses on raising taxes to pay for infrastructure needs before putting the 2012 Community Investment Bonds on the ballot, she said.

This year’s survey may help Cary leaders decide how they want to expand the town’s recycling program.

Town Council members have said they want to encourage residents to recycle more and throw away less trash.

Last year, town staff provided the council with a list of options for program improvements, which ranged from spending as much as $5.6 million for food-waste collection to $4,500 on a recycling-awareness campaign.

But council members hesitated to make any expensive, long-term changes because public support for change was unclear.

The survey will ask residents if they would be willing to pay more in taxes or fees to enhance the town’s recycling program.

How can Cary improve?

In 2012, residents gave Town Hall its highest average overall score, A minus, since Cary first conducted the survey in 1998.

Cary’s fire department received the highest marks, earning an A plus in response time, problem solving, courteousness, fairness and competence.

The Town Council also received high scores. More than 93 percent of residents said the council was “effective,” up from 89 percent in 2010.

The town got its lowest scores for street maintenance. Residents gave Cary a C – up from a C minus in 2010 – mainly due to poor pavement conditions on Maynard Road, Kildaire Farm Road, Walnut Street, Green Level Church Road and High House Road.

The town is using money from the 2012 bond issue to repave Walnut Street.

“I would hope that people in Cary are genuinely pleased,” Councilman Don Frantz said. “We’ll see. We want to know what people are thinking.”

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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