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Poverty, public safety top concerns stated in city survey

POSTED December 14, 2010 11:27 p.m.

Community members have spoken and they want Turlock Federal Housing and Urban Development money to be spent on anti-poverty, human services and public safety rather than housing, infrastructure and public facilities. This is what city staff found after sending out a survey through local utility bills to 18,607 customers in the spring of 2010.

“The goal of the community survey is to inform stakeholder and City of Turlock planners of citizens’ opinions and to use that knowledge for economic policy drivers,” states the City of Turlock Citizen Survey Project.

The survey questions were divided into categories that represented agencies and programs in housing, anti-poverty, human services, homeless, person with disability, seniors/elderly, public safety, youth, public facilities, infrastructure improvements, and comment areas for other needs.

About 1,422 Turlockers responded to the survey stating what they would like to see the money spent on and what they would not like to see the money spent on.

The California State University, Stanislaus Executive Masters of Business Administration Program put in over 300 hours to gather, analyze, and put together a report displaying all the information gathered from the surveys.

Community members said in the survey that they would not like to see the city spend money on housing, infrastructure improvements, public facilities, persons with disabilities and human services.

They would like the city to spend the money on anti-poverty, human services, public safety, youth and seniors/elderly.

Within anti-poverty, community members would like to see the money being spent on job creation, job training and small business development, which was ranked as the top three priorities within anti-poverty.

The survey also found that community members would like money within the human services to be spent on health services, abused and neglected individuals and food banks/food programs, also ranked in the top three priorities.

And for public safety, 63.7 percent of the survey takers want the money to be spent on neighborhood crime prevention programs with 24 percent wanting the money to be spent on housing code violations.

Community members also wrote personal comments on the surveys that were analyzed by CSUS Executive MBA students.

Out of the 1,422 surveys returned, 470 of those had a total of 960 comments on them ranging from illegal alien issues to gangs to trimming trees.

The top five concerns voiced in the comments were road repair/improvement at 234 comments, police and fire issues at 60 comments, youth programs at 52 comments, business incentive programs at 51 comments and homeless at 43 comments.

The council accepted this report at their Tuesday meeting.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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