Town of Nelson Councilwoman Denise Earl reported last week that the town has completed its first-ever satisfaction survey. The town of Lebanon has been conducting them for several years now, and it is believed Nelson is only the second in Madison County to circulate such a questionnaire.
The consensus was that it would be a good idea, said Supervisor Richard Williams (D - Nelson) of the decision to develop an instrument to solicit residents' input. I don't know that the project was the idea of a sole individual, but we all thought it would be beneficial to get the community's opinion about a number of issues.
Earl said 20 percent of households completed and returned surveys. That is four times the national average for similar survey efforts, and double is considered a good response by those in the field.
According to Earl, issues ranked by importance were town taxes and fees, which tied for first place with the Erieville Reservoir in getting 66.1 percent of the very important designation. Following those two topics for most important were maintaining open space (66 percent), farming and agriculture (65.3 percent), Eatonbrook Reservoir (61.1 percent), preserving the area's small-town character (59.7 percent), shopping and retail growth (28 percent) with assisted living bringing up the rear with 16.1 percent.
Of the 164 responses to satisfaction about the quality of life in Nelson, 97 percent were either very or somewhat satisfied, and there was no correlation between length of time a respondent lived in the community, Earl said. One correlation was noted, though. Of 161 respondents who lived here the longest, 89 percent were more adamant about seeing farming and agriculture as a very or somewhat important feature of the town.
Earl said generally, people preferred only small entrepreneurial and retail development rather than large stores.