Council Reviews Upcoming Survey Questions

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City will be garnering the opinions and thoughts of local residents, voters and property owners through the town’s participation this year in a National Citizen Survey.

Kathy Mathias, assistant to the City Manager, came before the Mayor and Council Tuesday to update them on the progress of the survey that they approved earlier this year.

According to Mathias, the surveys were initially to be sent out to 1200 people.

“We ran into some issues because of property owners not living in the 21842 zip code,” Mathias said.

As a result of some property owners not living in town year-round, two categories have been created; year round and property owners. About 3,000 surveys will now be sent out to property owners and year-round residents at random.

Mathias explained that the five-page long national survey will be customized for Ocean City and will also include a cover letter and the mayor’s signature.

Because the survey is a national survey, a few changes needed to be made to fit Ocean City. For example, questions regarding subways and railways were not pertinent to the town.

Mathias explained that the survey would include a variety of questions, including three policy questions and one open-ended question. Four policy questions and two open-ended questions were presented to the City Council at Tuesday’s work session for review.

The four potential policy questions touched on five-story building limitations; the amount of street space dedicated to vehicles as opposed to bikers and alternative forms of transportation; the Mayor and Council’s support of the tourism industry; and the tax differential.

After reviewing the four potential questions, the council chose the first three questions. It was agreed the tax differential would hopefully be well underway before the surveys were sent out, making it not as pertinent.

While the policy questions provide a support/oppose scale for answering, the open-ended questions provide people a chance to give more elaborate thoughts and opinions.

The open-ended question chosen at the meeting was, “What do you think is the single biggest issue facing Ocean City over the next several years?” This question was chosen over, “Name any services that the town provides that could be improved.”

Mathias explained that the answers provided in the open-ended questions would be collected and compiled into a list for the council to review.

The survey results should be returned by Thanksgiving.

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