Union Grove seeks resident input to help set priorities

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

Union Grove residents and business owners could soon be asked to weigh in on a number of issues related to the village, based on a committee’s recommendation.

The Village Board will soon act on a possible community survey that likely would ask respondents to rate such issues as quality of life, municipal services and future development priorities.

Village Administrator Mike Hawes first proposed the survey last month. Since then, the issue was kicked over to members of the village’s Administration Committee, which hashed over specifics at a meeting July 8 before handing over an affirmative recommendation.

At the committee meeting, Hawes reiterated some of his earlier points on the value such a survey could bring into the decision-making process, particularly if it is distributed in routine intervals in the yeas ahead.

“We can try to find some different trends and can be aware of them,” Hawes said.

At the committee meeting, Hawes presented a draft document, based on similar surveys given out in other municipalities. The proposal Hawes presented had around 20 questions.

“Personally, I wonder if it’s too lengthy,” said Trustee Ryan Johnson, who sits on the committee and suggested trimming the number of questions to ensure as many people as possible take it.

While there was consensus to move forward, fellow trustee and committee member Alan Jelinek wondered aloud if the results would be skewed.

“What if the average Joe doesn’t respond and someone with an ax to grand does?” said Jelinek, who chairs the committee.

The proposed survey could include an open-ended question at the end, giving respondents an opportunity to sound off on any particular item, regardless of whether it is on the survey.

“You can get some interesting ideas from that,” Hawes said.

Some of the questions could be demographic in nature, including asking respondents their education, whether they work or are retired, how long they have lived in the village and where they resided before moving to Union Grove.

Committee members favored a number of the themes proposed in the survey, including ones related to public safety, road conditions and development.

Johnson, however, said a proposed question on upgrades to parks would bring little value in future decision-making processes.

“We know what we need to do,” Johnson said of that specific capital item.

If the proposed survey moves forward, plans call for publishing the results, though the open-ended responses might not be included in the big-picture tally to ensure the survey’s anonymity is upheld.

In terms of cost, Hawes said he anticipated it being nominal. From the research he has conducted, Hawes said a monthly subscription to Survey Monkey, the online portal that likely would be used, would hover around $35.

For regular stories covering Union Grove’s Village Board see the print edition of the Westine Report.