The Fiscal Sustainability Task Force Survey which we are encouraged to fill out on line at the Town website originally had a few glitches. Some of them have now been fixed after complaints by an observant resident. We hope the Town thanked him profusely. He has saved them looking very foolish indeed.
What were the problems? In the first question you are asked to fill out your postal code. No problem until you tried to go beyond page one and found that the program insisted the “postal code” must be totally numeric rather than alpha-numeric. Canadian postal codes are alpha-numeric. American zip codes are all numeric. You could get round it [if you thought to] by entering any number with 5 digits. Good thing they fixed that. This would have stymied many.
In one of the questions the survey framers originally asked you to give your top five priorities from a list of ten items, 1 indicating the issue you cared about most. Trouble was after filling out your five you were then told you must fill all the boxes using digits from 1 to 10 ! You could not zero fill either. Also the box next to each of the items appeared to be only large enough to accept 1 digit. These glitches thankfully have been fixed. However, some problems still remain.
At the beginning of the survey you are asked if you wish to attend a meeting on June 22, yes or no. About what you wonder. It doesn’t tell you what the meeting is about until the end of the survey when you are told that the meeting is to give the results of the survey!
The framing problems might be forgiven by the most patient among us but there are the questions themselves to consider. It asks how satisfied you are with a whole list of things — beautification, roads, policing, administration etc. But if you say you are unsatisfied with admin. say, how will this be interpreted by the Town? That the Town should spend more money on administration? Maybe what you really mean is we are spending too much money on administration for what we are getting out of it. On the other hand you may be unsatisfied with Arts and Culture and expect them to spend more on that. Or, it could be the reverse.
If you negotiate the survey you cannot repeat it – or can you? There are ways around this block. It has been done.