Pitkin County survey ‘phenomenal’ but concerns remain
Pitkin County is doing a “phenomenal job” of serving residents compared with other communities, though residents are concerned about affordability, management of growth and availability of mental-health services.
That’s according to the results of a recent survey sent out to Pitkin County residents and a presentation to county commissioners Monday by one of the surveyors interpreting those results.
“You are setting the standard in comparison with other communities,” said Chris Tatham of the Olathe, Kansas-based survey company ETC Institute. “At the end of the day, you all are living in a community where people feel very good living in. You’re really to be commended for that.”
The 515 people who responded to the survey included residents from all income categories, he said. About 30 percent reported living in the area for more than 30 years, a third said they owned a business, and about 10 percent of respondents were Hispanic, Tatham said.
In general, 57 percent rated quality of life in Pitkin County as excellent, and 68 percent said it was an excellent or good place to work, he said. About 73 percent said they had an excellent or good image of the county, which Tatham said was “phenomenal.”
Also impressive, Tatham said, was that 66 percent of respondents felt they receive a good value for the taxes they pay. That was particularly evident when people were asked about the county’s Open Space and Trails program, and 49 percent said they receive a “great” benefit from the program, Tatham said.
“That should be really reassuring for the Open Space and Trails ballot initiative,” Commissioner George Newman said.
The county will ask residents on the November election ballot to renew the Open Space and Trails mill levy for 20 more years.
As far as safety, residents give high marks to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen, Tatham said.
“It’s not a real surprise that people feel very safe here,” he said.
That said, residents expressed concern about domestic violence in the community and the lack of mental-health services, he said. The concern about mental-health issues reflects similar national trends, Tatham said.
Other negative responses revolved around how the county conducts inspections and hands out permits, he said.
Broader concerns about managing growth as well as cost-of-living issues surrounding housing, child care and quality care for the elderly also were noted, Tatham said.
Finally, 1 in 5 respondents said they weren’t happy with the Board of County Commissioners’ effectiveness, he said.
To see the full results of the survey, go to http://pitkincounty.com/civicalerts.aspx?AID=129.
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