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July 24, 2010 - 2:35pm

City needs at least 1,200 more citizens to take online survey

posted by Billie Owens in batavia, citizen survey.

In order to make the City of Batavia's Citizen Survey viable, at least 1,200 more residents need to log onto its home page and take eight minutes to answer eight questions.

For all those Batavians with a bone to pick, two cents worth, a word of praise or some pointed recommendations, here's a quick, easy opportunity to get it on the record for the city council to consider.

Simply put, more people need to weigh in in order for the data to be useful for planning purposes.

The website is <http://www.batavianewyork.com>.

City residents and those who work in the city are asked to provide input in order to gauge how citizens perceive the quality of several city services.

The survey also inquires as to whether citizens plan to remain in Batavia in five years and provides an area for general comments. The data received from the survey can be broken down by ward, age group and/or gender.

The survey was developed by city administration and is being administered free of charge through the use of software owned by Genesee Community College’s BEST Center.

While the city has contracted with the BEST Center to help it develop a strategic plan, the administration of the survey is being offered at no cost to the city.

“We are grateful to the BEST Center for allowing us to utilize its existing resources,” said City Manager Jason Molino. “This is our first time to administer an electronic survey, and we need more citizen involvement.

"We chose electronic means because it is environmentally responsible, provides efficiency with data interpretation and was offered to us free."

According to Molino, data from the surveys can be organized and reported out with the use of various filters within a matter of minutes.

“Efficiency and environmental consciousness aside; we need enough citizens to complete the survey in order to have quality usable data for our planning process,”  Molino said.

“We are strongly encouraging all residents to log on to the website and spend a few minutes to give us the feedback we need to make citizen-involved decisions during our planning process.”

For individuals without computer access, the Richmond Memorial Library encourages Batavia residents to use its free Internet service to take the survey. The library offers several computer terminals from which the survey can be taken. The service is free; however individuals must sign up to become a library member.

Membership to the Richmond Memorial Library is free and simply requires a few minutes to provide some basic information. Summer library hours are:  9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The library is located at 19 Ross St.

If there are any questions, please contact:

Office of the City Manager
One Batavia City Centre
Batavia, New York 14020
Phone:   (585) 345-6330
Fax:        (585) 343-8182
E-mail:   [email protected]

Mark Potwora
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It's not a 8 minute survey if you have to drive over to the Library and sign up..Can't they just call city hall and take it over the phone ..
Howard B. Owens
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Mark, aren't you one of the ones always worried about how much money the city is spending? You want staff time tied up doing phone surveys?
Billie Owens
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Mark, apparently that's not an option. It would probably require more staff time to tally the results and document the comments, whereas with the internet, the results are more easily tallied. Call the city manager and inquire and post his response.
George Richardson
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Howard, you could make this happen. If Dunkin' Donuts will say O.k. and give us a free Donut, we'll all participate. Who doesn't like Donuts? Donut lie, you know you do.
Billie Owens
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Dunkin' Donuts is not supporting "local first" businesses, so I doubt Howard would bother.
Howard B. Owens
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Actually, I believe Dunkin' Donuts is a locally owned franchise, though I'm not sure.
Mike Hilchey
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Given the latest ineptitudes of the City government in all phases of city management , its NOT surprising that citzens of Batavia are not filling out his survey. Its a waste of the citizens time, the city government aka City Council is goin to stumble thru their sessions with the same mind set no matter what is presented to them in a survey or thru citizen outcrys at their meetings. To think that a simple Survey in a city of this size will change policy is nothing more than City council doing a little patting itself on the back to involve residents in a meaningless waste of time. ONE More thing for the council to ARGUE about. OH the people WANT This -- BULLCRAP -- Let the City council get their heads out of their behinds and address the issues that MATTER, a SURVEY of less than 10 percent of the population isnt going to Matter
John Roach
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Mike, What "issues that MATTER" are you talking about? People might use them for the survey.
Frank Bartholomew
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Hey people, the survey is being done whether you like it or not, might as well take advantage of it, even if nothings comes from it, it still feels good to vent.
Billie Owens
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Besides making excuses as to why you cannot participate in your local government's call for a survey, why not figure out how you can make a contribution regardless of the outcome. In the church I come from, we are taught that when you make a contribution in good faith to a cause, your deed is complete, the jewel is in your crown. If the recipient fails to use the proceeds properly, that is not your crime, it is on his, her or their reckoning documents, not yours. Do the right thing, blindly, anonymously, contribute without expectation, try to make a difference in your way of living and being. Breathe. Make the effort to make a difference, even if your gut tells you it will come to nothing. That's not the point.
Mike Hilchey
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OK Lets talk about Issues that Matter Constant problems with City Code and Inspection procedures and the failure to be able to enforce and or regulate --the city council cant even put a Plumbling inspector in place - then lets not forget to mention the deterioration of neighboorhoods in the city and the apathey of the council when they look away as these landlords and resisdents let their rental properties fade into disrepair and I wont even mention Latina's How about a LACK of services and or recreation for the Youth of the city -- Idle Unsupervised Youth tend to gravitate to unhealthly activities aka gangs and drugs I remember when downtown was a BUSY place -- people on the streets -- merchants doing bussiness and having a constant stream of patrons --- I realize that the Big Box stores have gained Prominance -- but what happened to all the Mom and Pop places that we all loved I'm sure I could come up with many more -- but I will let the readers voice the other things -- I have vented enough for the moment I no longer live in the city -- I am enjoying the relaxed and quiet atmosphere of the country -- free from the turmoile and regulations that the city seems to think it has DOMAIN over -- People wake up, the city is in a downward spiral, slowly sapping everyones values due to the I DONT CARE ATTITUDE of the Population
John Roach
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Mike, Then that is what people should put on the survey.
Mark Potwora
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Howard...I dont see were this would cost the city money if some one wanted to call and answer that way.It should be no different then if a call with a problem or a complaint.Don't tell me that for a couple of weeks someone at city hall can't take a couple of phone calls .Also why can't those without internet call their council person..Alot of taxpayers don't have internet..They should fine a way that all can express their views..not just those with internet.. They just sent out our water bills last month,they could of put the survey in there and had tax payers sent them back with there water bill..No cost there.. I like Mike believe that is alot of bull.Taxpayers want lower taxes.Streets and sidewalks repaired..Thats what the survey will say..Nothing will get done ,but another study..
John Roach
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Mark, For those who don't have Internet, they could go to the library and use the ones there (there paying for them with taxes now, might as well use them).
Frank Bartholomew
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Even if nothing comes from the survey, at least we were given a forum, and it removes ignorance as an excuse not to address issues.
Howard B. Owens
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Mark, every minute a city staff member spends taking survey answers is a minute that could be spent on other work. That means it costs taxpayers $$$.
Frank Bartholomew
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I got an idea, why don't some of us with laptops volunteer to go to those who don't have the means and let them take the survey this way. This would serve two purposes, save the city time and resources, which benefits all, and would produce a more diverse response.
Joshua Pacino
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Regarding the issues that matter, downtown improvement, youth services, job growth, neighborhood improvement, and infrastructure are all a part of the survey. There is also a comment box at the bottom. It seems to me that it would be more beneficial to comment on such matters in the survey itself instead of an article about the survey. It took me about five minutes. It took more time to read all of the comments on here about how much of waste of time people think the survey is than it did to actually fill it out.
Frank Bartholomew
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Does anyone else find it ironic that complaints about some residents not having accessibility to the internet are being posted on a website.
Chris Charvella
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You people are slacking, I already took it 12 times :)
Bea McManis
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I spent this past Saturday in Hornell. The city took advantage of their recreational facilities to host three touraments over the weekend; a baseball tournament, a basketball tournament, and a horseshoe tournament. They closed Main St. and set up cages for the basketball tourney. The one that surprised me was the horseshoe tournament. Hornell has invested grant money on twelve horseshoe courts located in a city park. The attendance for this tourney was over 100 participants and well over 200 came to watch. 12 courts; a chain link fence; a bank of 6 double lights; and an equipment building that services the entire park. Hotel accomodations, for those attending any of the 3 events, were full in Hornell and at least 50 miles in each direction. Batavia is missing the boat when it comes to recreation as a draw and the economic boon to our merchants. Hornell saw the need for the horsehoe pits (which are clay). Leagues play on them every night during the week. They pay an annual fee to the city for using them. Local residents can use them anytime there isn't league play. The park also had a 1 1/2 mile walking path, tennis courts, and a playground for the little ones. It is well maintained. There is a creek where people could fish and we enjoyed watching geese fly in and out all day. These pits are impressive. So much so that the New York State Horseshoe Pitchers Assoc. will hold a sanctioned state tournament there next year. More people coming to their city; more sales tax money; more outside money finding its way to the merchants. In my opinion, Batavia is shortsighted when it comes to utilizing it's best asset. We are located in a perfect spot to make the city a mecca for recreational events such as Hornell had over the weekend.
Howard B. Owens
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Good post, Bea.
Mark Potwora
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Chris why would you take it 12 times..I took the on line survey..I guess i never realized that you could take it many times from the same computer.My point is i know many elderly who haven't taken it because they don't know how to use the internet,don't belong to the library...They would like to add their two cents also...So no Frank i don't find it ironic...I think all taxpayers should be heard.And just because you don't have internet access shouldn't stop you from being able to take the survey..
Bea McManis
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It is becoming more frequent to see an article in a newspaper or magazine that ends with "to read the rest of this story, please go to www. whatver." Commercials on tv, radio and ads in print also direct people to a web site. While this is common place for those of us who have access and those who are used to surfing the web, it must be frustrating for those who don't. I don't find it ironic, either. While I wouldn't advocate a phone survey, I don't see why they can't publish the survey in the paper for those who don't use the internet. ...but, maybe, asking people to fill in an internet survey is just the first step in giving the city of Batavia free wi-fi. Just a pipedream.
John Roach
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Mark, Maybe some of the people here who want the survey accessible by phone could volunteer to go over and do it, at no cost to the taxpayer?
Frank Bartholomew
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Bea, I understand your frustation, but have any of you heard or received complaints about difficulties accessing the survey? I just wish more people were proactive, the city attempts to learn what issues are of most importance to the residents, and the first thing you see is negative feedback, and excuses why we can't respond to the survey. I wonder if this happens in Hornell. As I stated earlier, I would be more than happy to volunteer some of my time to assist those without internet access, as I feel this would produce a more diverse result. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, or in some cases replaced, to me, that is better than more of the same. If nothing changes, then nothing changes.
Mark Potwora
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Bea we are in agreement...It does seem that every thing you need to do is geared to having access to the internet.. Good idea John..Doesn't seem like you can get a whole picture of what the city taxpayers needs and wants are, if you only hear from those with internet access..
Bea McManis
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My impression is they aren't interested in results from the entire community, just the online community. It is posted on their webpage (accessed by only those with internet service - or who can log on from the library, etc.). The survey is very general.
Bea McManis
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Frank, Take a look at Hornell's website regarding their parks. The walking path is only 1/2 mile, for some reason I thought I read 1 1/2 miles on the sign. There is also a skate board park there, too. At the very bottom of the page is a picture of the pits and some of the park we were in. http://www.cityofhornell.com/departments/dpw_parks.html From what I understood, the people did not object to using the grant money for this.
John Roach
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Bea, There is also the ability to just go to Council and tell them what you think. It's not done very often, but anyone can do it if they want to. And the building is handicapped accessible. If you don't want to speak to the whole Council, you can talk with any member one on one before or after the meeting if you want.
Bea McManis
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John, The point I'm trying to make is that they aren't asking the entire community to take part in this survery, but just the online community. Yes, one can speak to the council or to individuals, but this survey isn't open to everyone. There has to be a reason.
JoAnne Rock
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Is there a reason why members of City Council can't go out into their wards to meet, greet and poll their constituents? Isn't knowing the needs, wants and concerns of people in their wards part of their job?
Bea McManis
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JoAnne, Excellent point. I would think that walking door to door and talking to the people they represent would be part of their job. Years ago, when we had a mayor, it was not uncommon to find the mayor attending weddings, funerals, and other events - invited or not.
Frank Bartholomew
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Is there a reason why some of us who are able, don't lend our time to make sure all voices are heard.Or do we want the City to spend money to make all voices heard,so we can then bitch about how our tax dollars are wasted.
Jeremiah Pedro
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I wasn't really watching the clock but I'm sure that it didn't even take me 8 minutes to complete the survey.
JoAnne Rock
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Frank, I'm not positive how council salaries are paid, but I'm pretty sure it's not hourly. I just think that every once in a while they should go out into the neighborhoods they represent to see and hear first hand what the problems and concerns are. I don't see how this would be wasted tax dollars...it is what they promise to do when campaigning and what I expect them to do when elected. More useful information can be obtained through direct observation and informal conversation than will ever be gotten through that poll. And yes, people who can, should volunteer. They can spread the word that their council rep will be in the neighborhood on a particular day and time and encourage people to come out and perhaps help with data entry, etc. Heck, I would even make lemonade and bake cookies if my councilman wanted to set up on my street and greet the folks.
Frank Bartholomew
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JoAnne,I agree with you, and was only trying to point out how this would be perceived by all the negative nellies.I would just follow that very colorful bus you see in and around the neighborhoods, as I believe those operating that bus are providing for the less fortunate.
John Roach
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Bea, The survey is online so that it can be automatically in a data base. This eliminates paying somebody to sit and input the data later. It is very cost effective. At least two alternatives to owning a computer have been given. Using someone else's or going to the library. But you will always have the ones who will find something to complain about or some excuse for not doing it, like they find for not voting. On this, Frank is right.

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