By Sara Brown, Contributing Writer
Southborough – Soon, Southborough residents could be completing a comprehensive online survey to give their thoughts about town services.
At the Board of Selectmen’s Feb. 2 meeting, Municipal Technology Committee Chair Matt Probst presented an overview of the survey his committee created. They have been working on this for over a year.
The survey would be for all town residents on a semi-annual basis to collect the data necessary to become more of a “Data Driven Town.” According to Probst, the goal would be to heavily promote the anonymous survey to town residents during February and August of each year. The February results would give data for Town Meeting. The August results would provide data to feed into the next year budget cycle.
The survey would be web-based via the website surveymonkey.com and promoted on social media, the town’s website and other avenues.
The technology committee researched other towns’ and cities’ surveys to figure out what they should be asking residents. The draft of the survey is currently 64 questions.
“There have been a lot of surveys in Southborough over the years and I am sure the same 172 people answer it. How are you going to get that number way above 172?” asked chair Martin Healey.
Probst said there is a lot of overlap with surveys in town between departments and said the focus should be one encompassing survey that all the departments push and promote.
“It will take time,” said Probst on getting residents to respond.
Selectwoman Chelsea Malinowski worried about the length of the survey.
“I think it’s pretty long. I don’t know if people will take the time to fill this out,” she said. “Twice a year is also pretty ambitious. That’s a lot of data for your committee to have to go through.”
Selectman Brian Shea agreed.
“I worry about survey fatigue,” he said.
Selectman Sam Stivers suggested that the committee do one survey a year first and see how successful that is in town first.
Probst said he was open to the suggestions and advice. He also said that many nearby towns conduct quarterly surveys.
“The goal is to test and learn,” he said.
Currently, there is no set deadline for the survey.
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