MODESTO — Modesto plans to take the pulse of its community.
The city intends to hire a consultant to conduct a random phone survey of at least 400 residents to determine their level of satisfaction with the city's customer service and learn more about their priorities on such issues as public safety, roads and the re-establishment of commercial flights from Modesto to Los Angeles.
The city is finalizing the contract with the Oakland-based Lew Edwards Group. Deputy City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley estimates the city could pay $25,000 for the survey and associated work.
City Manager Greg Nyhoff said this is the first time he has done such a survey in his nearly five years with Modesto, and his priority is it find out what residents think about the city's customer service.
The survey will ask residents about the city's revenue options. Mayor Garrad Marsh has called for the city to place a temporary sales tax on the November ballot for public safety. He has said the tax would go for new hires and new initiatives to add to existing police and fire services.
The survey will provide input for the City Council and city officials as they update Modesto's strategic plan, which sets priorities and goals for Modesto.
At a February workshop, the council decided to focus on new ways to make Modesto safer, create incentives to attract commercial and industrial development, and work closer with school districts to help children grow up right.
The survey questions have not been developed, but according to the scope of work for the project, the city wants the consultant to:
Assess the priorities of the community and its attitudes and awareness of the services provided by the city.
Develop a survey that reflects the city's geography, demographics and diversity. A Spanish version of the survey will be used for the city's Spanish-speaking residents.
Capture residents' quality-of-life issues and attitudes toward revenue options.
Williams-Ridley said the survey could be conducted this month or early May. The goal is for council members to have the survey results and strategic plan update by late May when they hold workshops for the city's 2013-14 budget, which starts July 1.
Nyhoff said one reason he wants to do a random survey is to ensure the city hears from a cross-section of residents. He said when the city created its strategic plan a couple of years ago, it held six community forums. He said those forums drew 50 to 100 people in total.
Modesto will hold a community forum April 18 at the downtown plaza to give residents a chance to weigh in on the strategic plan update.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.