Survey solicits opinions on services, projects

Residents can find a place to voice their concerns about, frustrations with and praises for the city of Craig right in their mailboxes.

On Nov. 17, the city mailed about 3,400 surveys with questions regarding residents' satisifaction with city services and the community. Surveys were sent to every residential utility customer in Craig and hand delivered to apartment dwellers.

"The City Council wants to get a feel for how we're doing on the services we provide and how the public feels about the community in general," said Jim Ferree, city manager.

The city conducted its last survey in 1996, and the results needed updating, he said.

The total cost for the survey is expected to be just over $5,000, including $2,000 in staff wages for creating the survey and tabulating results, and $2,338 in postage costs, Ferree said. According to City Council member Tom Gilchrist, hiring a firm to conduct a survey can cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

Two items on the survey officials are particularly interested in are questions about creating a recycling program and adding and repairing sidewalks, Ferree said.

Recycling

City officials want to guage the public's views on going forward with a new recycling program.

"The people I talk to want a recycling program, but I don't talk to everybody," Gilchrist said.

The survey asks residents if they feel the city or county should offer a recycling program, and if they would favor a quantity-based garbage fee allowing residents who produce less garbage to pay less for disposal services.

The main cost in a rural recycling program is hauling the materials to a processing center, but Steamboat Springs brings its recyclable products to Grand Junction and the program is working well, Gilchrist said.

"If you can avoid putting things in the landfill, some of those savings can go to a recycling program," he said.

Sidewalks

The Council has had several residents request the city build new sidewalks and make sidewalk improvements, Gilchrist said.

Last year, a group of middle schooler students chose the issue of sidewalks as a town concern, and came up with solutions for sidewalk improvements to present at a competition. Media coverage of the competition increased residents' interest in improving Craig's sidewalks, Gilchrist said.

It is too late for the city to put bike and recreation paths in most areas. Skateboarders, rollerbladers and bikers must rely on sidewalks instead, he said.

Several areas of Craig don't have sidewalks, and many sidewalks that do exist need repair and are built directly next to curbs, so plows push snow on top of them, Gilchrist said.

"If you look at the sidewalks that feed our schools, they aren't there," he said.

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