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Taylorsville Journal

Survey results: Taylorsville residents love the jobs police officers, firefighters, elected officials are doing

Jan 23, 2020 02:21PM ● By Carl Fauver

Taylorsville residents rate service from their Unified Police Department very high. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected] 

Nearly nine in 10 registered voters across Taylorsville approve of the jobs their mayor and city council members are doing, according to the first citywide survey the council has commissioned in nearly a decade.

“Taylorsville elected officials have tied with those in Millcreek for the highest voter approval ratings we have ever measured,” said Y2 Analytics Partner and Research Vice President Kyrene Gibb. “To have 87% of responders approve of the job they are doing is incredible.”

Gibb and her company shared the results of their survey at a recent city council meeting. On the survey question “Do you approve or disapprove of how the Taylorsville mayor and city council are handling their jobs?” 9% strongly approved, while 78% approved.

Just below the 87% approval for elected officials, survey responders gave fire and emergency medical services an 82% approval rating, while police came in at 76%. Between those two, the quality of the city’s culinary water and its garbage collection efficiency each earned 79% approval ratings.

“It’s nice to see our residents have faith in our community and their elected officials,” said Mayor Kristie Overson. “But the survey also gave us some great suggestions. It’s a good measuring stick. (Y2 Analytics) did a top-notch, professional job. I think we got an incredible product for what we spent.”

Taylorsville City officials paid Y2 Analytics $14,040 for the survey. Future surveys, which are not yet scheduled, will cost about $5,000 each.

“Years ago, surveys like this were typically done over the phone,” Gibb said. “A survey like this might have easily cost $30,000 to $35,000. But now we can do nearly everything by email and online, which reduces the cost significantly.”

Of the approximately 25,000 Taylorsville residents listed on the public Utah registered voter list, a random sampling of 11,701 names were placed in the survey pool. Email addresses were found for about 70% of these people, while the other 30% received letters in the mail, asking them to either respond to a web address, or phone in if they did not have computer access.

“Virtually everyone responded to the survey online; I think we had fewer than 10 call-in responders,” Gibb added. “Of the 11,701 registered voters we contacted, 937 responded. That 8% response rate is about average for these kinds of surveys.”

That response rate gives the survey a 3% margin of error.

“The survey gave us some great ideas of things we can do,” Councilman Dan Armstrong said. “I expected our public safety responders to earn high ratings. Everyone I talk to loves our police and fire service. But the survey also offered some valuable suggestions.”

Specifically, one of the most surprising responses came to the question: “What recreational amenities, if any, would you like to have access to in Taylorsville that are not currently available?” One out of every five responders said they want an indoor swimming pool in the city.

“We have discussed an indoor swimming pool over the years, but, as always, it’s a money issue,” said Council Vice Chairman Brad Christopherson. “We have even discussed the possibility of enclosing the outdoor pool. I think it might make sense to add on to the Taylorsville Recreation Center (4948 South 2700 West) to include an indoor pool. The rec center also has only two basketball courts when I think it could handle six to eight of them. But those are county facilities. We will need to talk with them again.”

Beyond the swimming pool issue specifically, Christopherson was pleased with the survey results.

“What I took from it is, ‘stay the course, keep doing what we are doing and keep being fiscally responsible,’ which are all positive findings,” he said. “The survey will help us set priorities.”

Talk of a citywide survey became more prevalent several months ago, in the midst of a controversy over animal services in Taylorsville. The city partners with West Valley City for animal control and their joint-owned animal shelter houses one of the few controversial gas chambers still in operation, for euthanizing animals, across the entire country.

One city council meeting last year was filled with animal advocates demanding city leaders either pressure West Valley leaders to get rid of its gas chamber or switch animal services to Salt Lake County, which does not have a gas chamber. Since then, West Valley animal services has changed leadership. The gas chamber remains, but officials say it is virtually never used anymore.

In the survey, Taylorsville animal control services received a 63% approval rating. Several city officials expressed belief that particular controversy appears to be behind them, provided the new West Valley animal services management continues on its current trajectory.

Other key findings shared in the survey:

  1. Two-thirds of residents say Taylorsville is heading in the right direction.
  2. Residents’ major concerns are focused on traffic and growth. Crime is a significant secondary concern.
  3. Just under half of residents feel they get enough attention from city leaders when they raise issues.
  4. Residents would prefer receiving information about the city in three main ways: the Taylorsville Journal (36%), an email from the city (26%) or through social media (14%).
  5. The types of new businesses residents would most like to see in Taylorsville are grocery stores and sit-down restaurants.

Overson said she and city council members will now discuss when they might want a follow-up survey, as required by their contract with Y2 Analytics. The general consensus at this point indicates the next one may come about a year from now. When it does, those 937 registered voters who responded to this first survey will be asked to do so again.

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