Tuesday, April 23, 2024

City of Granbury seeks residents’ input through community surveys

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The city of Granbury will soon implement a way for residents to make their voices heard on important community issues.

Partnering with FlashVote, a public survey research platform, the city will send a short, one-minute survey every month to engage the community and gather valuable input from residents.

“FlashVote is short, automated scientific surveys, and that's what gives officials the data they need to actually serve the public better and make people happier,” Kevin Lyons, co-founder of FlashVote told the Hood County News. “Most of the time, the input officials get is an opposite representation of what the whole community actually wants, so this actually aligns the government with what the public wants, needs, prefers and so on.”

Jeff Newpher, communications manager for the city of Granbury, explained that Lyons has conducted surveys all over the country and the state of Texas.

“I actually heard (Lyons) when I was at TCU (Texas Christian University) as a student for the certified public communications program in one of the sessions about getting good, valid feedback to make decisions,” Newpher said. “I thought, ‘Well, this is great. That may work (for the city).’”

The topics are currently still being developed for the surveys, as Newpher explained it is important to have every Granbury City Council member involved in the discussion.

"We're kind of in the process of asking (the council members) that now,” he said. “It could be things from, ‘Should we build another swimming pool?’ to ‘Would you like recycling if you had to pay for it?’ There's a number of different questions we could ask residents. We're just trying to figure out right now in the next week or two which ones the council members will say we need to get data on to help us make decisions on upcoming issues.”

One benefit of using FlashVote for the community surveys, Newpher said, is the quick turnaround time.

"If Kevin put a survey in the field for us today, then by next Monday, we would have numbers — which is so much faster than a lot of other survey methods,” he said.

Each survey will contain about four or five questions and should only take residents about a minute to complete.

“The concept is like, ‘Hey, do you have one minute a month to help make Granbury better?'” Lyons said. “We try to make it as easy as possible for the residents, so that a broad section of the community will participate. The surveys are short and super easy to take — much easier than anything else — and then we share the results."

Additionally, every survey submitted is kept anonymous and responses are reported to the city en masse, not individually.

"The city does not get your name, your personal phone number or any type of identifier,” Newpher stressed. “Each individual has anonymity.”

"It's anonymous to the government,” Lyons said. “The results are anonymized. There's no spam and it’s full privacy. We don't do anything with their data other than protect it and use it to do some demographic filters.”

Newpher said these surveys will be beneficial to residents because the results will be a “truly representative sample of all the people in Granbury; not just the vocal ones,” who are known to speak out on certain issues.

He also wanted to reassure the public the city will not manipulate the numbers, and every recorded response will be unaltered and authentic.

"This is not the city conducting a survey,” Newpher said. “This is an outside independent organization that has a reputation for fairness, honesty and integrity that is conducting the surveying at our request, but we don't know what the numbers are going to be. We don't write the question so that we'll get certain responses — just the opposite. FlashVote will help us make sure that the questions they ask residents are fair, and don't lead peak respondents toward a certain answer or away from an answer.”

FlashVote was founded in 2013 and has been growing all over Texas and the United States. FlashVote has implemented its surveys in large cities like Arlington and smaller cities like Navasota. Lyons added he is excited to start the program in Granbury.

For more information or to sign up to receive surveys, visit flashvote.com/granbury online.