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Indian Trail leaders want residents' opinions

INDIAN TRAIL Town officials want to know what Indian Trail's residents want from their government.

And how much they're are willing to pay for it.

The town has budgeted $10,000 for a survey that UNC Charlotte professor Paul Friday has helped town council members write. It will be mailed to about 3,500 residents in late September, and the results will help town officials make decisions about the future of Indian Trail.

“The council wants to know what the residents feel about certain things that they are going to have to make decisions on in the upcoming years,” said Indian Trail Town Manager Ed Humphries.

The survey will ask about issues such as law enforcement, recycling and parks. It will also inquire about more costly ideas the town has talked about, such as building a new town hall, starting a police department and taking over some repair of roads.

Humphries said the survey will give town officials a better idea of what Indian Trail's 24,000 residents think.

“How do you know?” asked Humphries. “You know about the people who come to (town) meetings, but the rest of the people don't come to meetings.”

Indian Trail has almost 11,000 households. Humphries said an average of about 20 residents attend town council meetings.

Friday told the council recently a survey is the most accurate way to gauge residents' attitudes about the town.

“I've found that while you are elected representatives of a community, do you really know what people want?” Friday asked the council. “You can get input at public meetings, but rarely are citizens who attend representative of the whole.”

Humphries said he's done similar surveys in other towns. He said a survey of Huntersville residents surprised town officials there because it showed a large percentage of residents were in their mid-30s, which meant many probably had young children.

Those results helped the town develop a parks and recreation department and plan activities for children.

The results of Indian Trail's survey may show a similar demographic, Humphries said.

Friday will conduct a scientific survey of a sample of residents generated from the town's voter registration list. He said if 1,013 people respond, the council can have 95 percent confidence in decisions in line with the majority responses.

The survey will also ask residents' race, gender, age, income and voting precinct. “We want to make sure the whole population is represented,” Friday said.

The council is taking one last look at the survey, which has been through numerous drafts, and will probably finalize it this month.

The town will mail the surveys in late September, Humphries said. They will contain a postage-paid envelope to return to the town. The town will send out a reminder postcard soon after.

Humphries is predicting an excellent response from Indian Trail residents.

“I get excited even talking about (the survey) because of the vast amount of information you receive,” he said. “If people fill it out like I think they will, it will help us in years to come.”

INDIAN TRAIL Town officials want to know what Indian Trail's residents want from their government.

And how much they're are willing to pay for it.

The town has budgeted $10,000 for a survey that UNC Charlotte professor Paul Friday has helped town council members write. It will be mailed to about 3,500 residents in late September, and the results will help town officials make decisions about the future of Indian Trail.

“The council wants to know what the residents feel about certain things that they are going to have to make decisions on in the upcoming years,” said Indian Trail Town Manager Ed Humphries.

The survey will ask about issues such as law enforcement, recycling and parks. It will also inquire about more costly ideas the town has talked about, such as building a new town hall, starting a police department and taking over some repair of roads.

Humphries said the survey will give town officials a better idea of what Indian Trail's 24,000 residents think.

“How do you know?” asked Humphries. “You know about the people who come to (town) meetings, but the rest of the people don't come to meetings.”

Indian Trail has almost 11,000 households. Humphries said an average of about 20 residents attend town council meetings.

Friday told the council recently a survey is the most accurate way to gauge residents' attitudes about the town.

“I've found that while you are elected representatives of a community, do you really know what people want?” Friday asked the council. “You can get input at public meetings, but rarely are citizens who attend representative of the whole.”

Humphries said he's done similar surveys in other towns. He said a survey of Huntersville residents surprised town officials there because it showed a large percentage of residents were in their mid-30s, which meant many probably had young children.

Those results helped the town develop a parks and recreation department and plan activities for children.

The results of Indian Trail's survey may show a similar demographic, Humphries said.

Friday will conduct a scientific survey of a sample of residents generated from the town's voter registration list. He said if 1,013 people respond, the council can have 95 percent confidence in decisions in line with the majority responses.

The survey will also ask residents' race, gender, age, income and voting precinct. “We want to make sure the whole population is represented,” Friday said.

The council is taking one last look at the survey, which has been through numerous drafts, and will probably finalize it this month.

The town will mail the surveys in late September, Humphries said. They will contain a postage-paid envelope to return to the town. The town will send out a reminder postcard soon after.

Humphries is predicting an excellent response from Indian Trail residents.

“I get excited even talking about (the survey) because of the vast amount of information you receive,” he said. “If people fill it out like I think they will, it will help us in years to come.”

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