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Woodbury Works Toward 2011 Community Survey

City gets “pulse” of the community through biannual 150-question survey of 400 random Woodbury residents.

Want to see a new aquatics center in Woodbury?

You might be asked to chime in on that and other issues facing the city this February through the city’s biannual community survey.

The Woodbury City Council went over the 150-question survey during a workshop Wednesday night, tweaking several questions and eliminating some altogether.

The city has conducted a community survey every two years since 1993, said Matt Stemwedel, assistant to the city administrator. The survey is conducted by Minneapolis-based Decision Resources, which calls 400 random Woodbury residents to obtain the results.

Questions about the aquatics center have been part of the survey for several years and are used to gauge the community’s interest in those types of programs, Stemwedel said. Other questions pertain to city services, police and fire, taxes, transportation and home values.

“We really like to listen to our residents and know what they’re thinking, and this helps us achieve that,” Councilwoman Julie Ohs said.

The survey costs $25,000 to conduct, according to staff, leading resident Linda Stanton, a regular fixture at council meetings, to question if that is money well spent. She said residents have other avenues to approach city staff and council members with questions or concerns.

But the survey does give the council a clearer picture of what residents think, Stemwedel said. “The council uses it to get the pulse of the community.”

“You sometimes don’t know what the silent majority things about something,” he said. “It’s kind of a reality check for what’s going on out there.”

The last community survey, conducted in 2009, showed that the city got high marks for its services compared the rest of the metro area, Stemwedel said.

“It’s really a great tool for the city, and staff, as does the council, takes this to heart,” he said.

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