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What You Say?
by Joshua H. Silavent
Nov 23, 2011 | 648 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — What is right with Sparks? What is wrong? What’s the best and worst thing about the Rail City? Officials want to hear from you.

The city will be conducting a public attitude survey Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 to record residents’ opinions on a variety of city services, such as public safety, parks and recreation and quality of life topics.

The 15-minute survey will be administered between 3:30 and 8:30 p.m. on the aforementioned dates and officials are hoping to generate at least 500 responses.

“When residents receive a call, we strongly encourage them to participate in the survey,” Mayor Geno Martini said. “The survey is the most important tool we have to gauge how we are governing and providing the services our residents have come to expect.” 

The survey was once conducted annually, but budget cuts have forced a change to every two years.

“We used to pay for it,” city spokesman Adam Mayberry said of the survey, adding that it cost the city about $4,000.

In addition, conducting the survey every year tended to produce repetitive results, Mayberry said.

Now, officials hope that having a two-year gap between surveys will produce more thorough and time-sensitive insights from the community.

“This is probably one of the more important tools that the city receives in evaluating the services we provide to the community,” Mayberry said.

City officials are using demographic information and names provided by the Washoe County Registrar of Voters Office and intend to draw a representative and equal sample of responses from all five city voting wards, Mayberry said.

Those residents receiving a call will be asked to rate city services and answer open-ended questions dealing with public safety issues, for example.

In years past, respondents have been asked whether they like the idea of consolidating regional governments and services, as well as their satisfaction with special events in the city.

In 2010, 92 percent of respondents rated the city as a good-to-excellent place to live, according to survey results. When it came to the overall quality of life in Sparks, 89 percent said it was good to excellent.

Volunteers are needed to help conduct the survey. Basic computer skills are needed, as is effective verbal communication skills. Bilingual (Spanish) speakers are a plus. To volunteer, call 353-7877 or email

The results of the 2011 survey will be presented to the City Council during their January budget retreat.
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