Friday, March 03, 2006

The Survey Says ...

The early results are in and you could knock me down with a historical feather. The survey is NOT scientific, however, it has generated some very surprising results.

The 59 people who responded were not interested in building swimming pools, senior centers, police stations or affordable housing. A whopping 82% were either not interested or had no opinion about reducing taxes! Among their top priorities were reducing crime, slowing growth, enhancing emergency operations/public safety, and ensuring quality commercial development. Reducing crime is by far your top concern with 92% of the respondents saying that crime is a high priority.

Here are the detailed results of the survey so far.

Ward 1 respondents dominate the survey in the same way they do in the election. 63% of the respondents said they live in ward 1. Only 4% live in ward 2. 15% aren't sure which ward they live in. 17% of the respondents live outside the city. 71% intend to vote in the city election.
N.B I hope the fine folks in ward 1 email the survey address to their friends in ward 2. You do have friends in ward 2 don't you? For those of you who are looking for a home in the city, see the Museum Row post below.

The numbers in () below show the number of respondents and first number is the percentage of respondents who answered the question. Red text indicates low priority, black text is for no opinion and green text is for high priority. The final number in each row can range from -10 to +10 and indicates the aggregate score combining the number of people and their scores together. Larger negative numbers indicate a lower priority response. Higher positive numbers indicate a stronger high priority response.

Updated Survey Stats Coming Soon. The highest and lowest priorities have not changed (59 Respondents so far!)

Building new city swimming pool:
60% (32), 30% (16) , 9% (5), -5
Building new senior citizens center:
42% (21), 26% (13), 32% (16), -1
Making Laurel more friendly for walking and biking:
15% (8), 10% (5), 75% (30), 6
Slowing growth -> improving infrastructure:
13% (5), 18% (7), 68% (26), 6
Cleaning up Laurel Lakes:
22% (9), 25% (10), 52% (21), 3
Increase delivery of services online (e-gov):
33% (12), 36% (13), 31% (11), 0
Attracting quality multi-family housing :
32% (12), 34% (13), 34% (13), 0
Stricter property code enforcement:
14% (5), 27% (10), 59% (22), 5
Enhancing public transportation:
32% (12), 32% (12), 35% (13), 0
Reducing crime:
2% (1), 5% (2), 92% (37), 9
Supporting Main Street businesses:
21% (8), 11% (4), 68% (26), 5
Enhancing municipal beauty:
19% (7), 28% (10), 53% (19), 3
Enhancing culture & arts opportunities:
32% (12), 24% (9), 45% (17), 1
Enhancing emergency operations & crisis mgt:
14% (5), 16% (6), 70% (26), 6
Increasing youth activities:
22% (8), 35% (13), 43% (16), 2
Enhancing parks and recreation opportunities:
14% (5), 38% (14), 49% (18), 4
Increasing opportunities for citizen involvement:
16% (6), 42% (16), 42% (16), 3
Reducing traffic congestion:
19% (7), 19% (7), 62% (23), 4
Enhancing road maintenance:
18% (7), 24% (9), 58% (22), 4
Building new police facility:
30% (11), 38% (14), 32% (12), 0
Attracting quality single family housing:
32% (12), 19% (7), 49% (18), 2
Preserving Laurel's historic structures & ensuring historically appropriate development:
23% (9), 15% (6), 62% (24), 4
Enhancing coordination with county, state & federal governments:
8% (3), 36% (13), 56% (20), 5
Creating stronger neighborhoods:
21% (8), 26% (10), 53% (20), 3
Reducing municipal property taxes:
47% (18), 34% (13), 18% (7), -3
Ensuring quality commercial development:
11% (4), 14% (5), 76% (28), 7
Increasing voter participation:
13% (5), 32% (12), 55% (21), 4
Enhancing public safety services:
8% (3), 22% (8), 70% (26), 6
Increasing affordable housing:
36% (14), 33% (13), 31% (12), -1

Some respondents offered their own issues for the candidates consideration as follows:

  • Attract store that sell the same products the same chain sells in other areas (Hechts, Giant, etc)
  • Community involvement within Laurel High School to improve safety and reputation.
  • They should follow policies already in place, or vote to change them. Ignoring them, and citizens who make comments to support them is less than impressive. There should be less kowtowing to developers. Just because somebody wants to build doesn't mean they should be allowed to do whatever he wants. Developers should be required to follow HDC guidelines, for example, instead of submitting plans that do not take them into account.
  • There is a huge drug and prostitution problem on the Route 1 corridor that no one seems to be looking at, I don't understand why the Laurel Police can't work with a Fed agency to take care of this problem. Also, Laurel Police are known for not showing up for court hearings, I would like the Council to make that a priority with the new Police Chief. I witnessed an accident showed up twice for the court hearing, but the police never showed up so the drunk driver got off on a technicality. Is that really the kind of police work we want in our town?
  • Don't let Verizon put ugly things on the telephone poles all over the city, especially in the Historic District.
  • Take a lead in giving our business and civic community a single voice - appoint a council member to act as a facilitator of the merging of The Friends of Laurel's Historic Main Street and the Board of Trade. Appoint a Main Street Manager. The time for a Main Street Manager (who could also focus on Rt 1) has come as well as participating in the Maryland Main Street Program. Code and sign enforcement should be a priority for the historic district. Owners complain about declining business but do little or nothing to improve the appearance of their property. The idea of treating every part of Laurel the same is just an excuse for not focusing on Main St and the historic district. Other MD towns have gotten past this excuse and provincialism and have decided to make preservation and their historic districts a priority. Yes, Laurel has its own identity and beauty and we should all be working hard to preserve it. Lastly, business groups in other municipalities have come together with the support of their Mayor and Council. It is also time for Laurel to have one united business group- speaking as one voice and working and planning to make Laurel a better place.
  • As citizens of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, City should be requiring use of Low Impact Development techniques in all new development/re-development projects to reduce run-off into the Patuxent and the Bay.
  • Integrated and Coordinated Transportation. -Pedestrian Safety crossing Route 1. Please don't wait for someone to be killed at the Main Street intersections, let's put in a pedestrian bridge or tunnel to the train station -A Riverfront Park System Coordinated with Howard and Anne Arundel Counties. Paths, bikeways to Patuxent Wildlife North Tract, etc.
  • Eliminate violent crime, but not creating hysteria about victimless business like the strip club. That's sensationalism in politics. Encourage citizen participation, and voting, but telling folks how to vote, but not by attacking those who exercise 1st amendment rights by speaking out. Round up the gangsters and lock them away! Zero toleration of governmental corruption.
  • Marketing the city within as well as outside the state perimeter as a great location to be in/repairing our educational system and dispelling it's bad reputation/
  • Find ways to increase local input for improving the quality of education for Laurel school students.
  • Revitalizing Laurel Shopping Center
  • Attracting high level experienced professionals and public safety people to work in the city.
  • A look at the retirement. There has not been a raise in over 10 years for those people who spent their whole lives with the City providing services.
  • Main Street, Quality shopping, movie theaters
  • Rectifying the imbalance of donations between the Laurel Vol Fire Department and the Laurel Vol Rescue Squad.

  • Saturday Afternoon Suggestions From the Survey Fill-in.
    Make the Laurel Volunteer RESCUE squad do their job.They were CREATED to run EMS transport, not to be a FIRE DEPT.The City would do well to divorce itself from pg county as much as possible. Schools and such would be better handled at the local level. Make Laurel like Balt city in this respect/
  • City has get Parks and looks very good around town the past several years. Current City Council is doing a good job.
  • Sunday Evening Suggestions From the Survey Fill-in. (We are now up to 52 respondents. The statistics have not changed significantly.)
  • Parking enforcement, people are parking any place they please and could care less about how other have to get around them. Parking Enforcement has been real bad for the last 10 years.
  • Tuesday Evening Suggestions From the Survey Fill-in Section (We are now up to 59 respondents. However the issue priorities have not changed significantly.
  • Voting in the *RESIDENT'S* best interests, not the *BUSINESS COMMUNITY'S* best interest. These are *NOT* the same thing. Businesses are here to make a *PROFIT*. Residents are here to make a *HOME*.
  • Giving Our Officiers who have been with the department for more then 7yrs a yearly bonus, not the ones who just started. We need to keep our expericenced officiers, not lose them to early retirement or higher paying departments. Where is the thanks to the officiers who have dedicated themselves to the city for say 10,15, 20 years......
  • Assisting the main street business organizations to combine to one and rename themselves so no feelings are hurt and create a united front for main street. How about the main street business association MBA?

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