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Clearfield backs telephone survey

CLEARFIELD — Residents can sound off on city issues during November as the City Council has commissioned Dan Jones & Associates to conduct a random citizen survey.

Approved by a narrow 3-2 vote — with Mayor Don W. Wood breaking a 2-2 deadlock by the council — the survey will sample 400 residents on city services, needs and satisfaction.

The basic cost for the survey is $8,400. That money is already part of the approved city budget and could increase up to $10,000, depending on the length and number of questions asked.

Wood believes the money will be well spent and should mean the city can be more efficient in how it serves residents. He believes the survey can poll the silent majority. Clearfield hasn't conducted a survey like this since the mid-1990s.

However, council members had some reservations.

"A poll is only as good as the questions you ask," Councilman Michael J. LeBaron said.

A city committee will develop the questions. Then, they will be drafted with the help of Dan Jones & Associates. The council will have final approval on poll questions.

Councilman Vern R. Phipps said there will be some benefit from the survey because of its random nature. He also believes the council could not obtain equivalent feedback by simply going out and talking to residents.

Councilman Doyle T. Sprague said he didn't feel a survey was the best way to find out things from residents. He feels if the council does its job, it will have enough feedback.

The survey will have an error ratio of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

Results of the survey will likely be returned to the council by January of 2008.