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City reveals results of resident survey

Cary Ashby • Updated Aug 22, 2018 at 12:54 PM

The city of Norwalk had response rate of slightly more than 40 percent for its recent resident survey.

On Monday, city administrators and a Bowling Green State University summer intern shared an overview of the survey. Zoning officer Mitch Loughton said they hoped for a response rate of 15 to 20 percent, so getting 40.19 “was far above what we expected.”

Of the 6,789 households in Norwalk, the team used a sample of 1,876 households and had 754 surveys returned. The random sampling went to the four wards based on the percentage of those households in the city. 

Click here to see the complete survey online:

 

Given the methodology and sampling, safety-service director Dan Wendt said they were “95 percent confident that with repeated sampling the statistics were within 4 percent of the population parameters.”

The survey overall takes a scientific look at a representative sample of how residents feel about various topics. Wendt also said it reveals what citizens believe are good ideas and what aren’t, but not how to implement them.

When introducing the presentation, Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said the city often doesn’t hear from many residents, but the survey gave some of those people an opportunity to have their opinions heard.

Kelly Lippus, executive director of the Huron County Chamber of Commerce, said doing the survey shows the strength of city government, that citizens have a voice and city administrators taking the results so they could be “put toward policy.” While she said she “wasn’t necessarily surprised” by any of the results, she was pleased with residents being forward-thinking about bike paths, a possible amphitheater and wanting Norwalk to be proactive about watershed issues.

There were seven policy recommendations established from the results: Determine the zoning and code enforcement services; demolish dilapidated and abandoned properties; consider an alternative leaf pick-up strategy; actively protect the reservoir watershed; promote city-sponsored activities for children; increase the number of police officers; and finally, modify the approach to the sidewalk maintenance program.

Norwalk resident Ian Berry, the BGSU summer intern who worked on the survey with Wendt and Loughton, said it attempted to cover a large selection of topics. Berry graduated from Norwalk High School in 2013. 

Those topics were: city/service delivery; quality of life; safety and future priorities.

The respondents included more than 25 pages of comments. Wendt said many people wrote that the police department is excellent and officers are doing a great job.

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