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Cottonwood Heights Journal

What Cottonwood Heights Residents Really Think

Aug 24, 2016 11:22AM ● By Cassie Goff

An example of a mass corridor within Cottonwood Heights. —Cassandra Goff

By Cassandra Goff | [email protected]
The Cottonwood Heights City Council wanted to measure public opinion in order to guide decisions they make within the next few years. They asked Y2 Analytics, a survey research and data analysis group, for their aid in constructing and distributing a public survey to the residents of the city. The survey was distributed to randomly selected residents during the latter end of June. On July 19, Y2 Analytics team member Kelly Patterson presented the results of the community opinion survey to the council.
The respondents were drawn “from a population of registered voters,” Patterson explained. Therefore, the answers come from a population with “slightly higher income, more education and more home owners.”
“We had an excellence response rate,” Patterson said. Cottonwood Heights has been the “only city that has had a great response rate so quickly.” Results came from approximately 1,500 respondents with a 13.6 percent overall response rate. 
Collectively, the survey reported that “resident satisfaction is overwhelmingly satisfied,” Patterson said. “They enjoy the convenience of living in Cottonwood Heights due to its location and the lifestyle.”
Residents like the convenient location of the city in relation to the canyons and the freeway, along with the community, shopping opportunities and neighborhoods the most.
In addition, the survey reported that residents would like to see the most money go toward parks and open spaces.
However, “There is inherent tension between resident desires for preservation of open spaces and the ways in which they would like the city to manage growth,” Patterson said. “Residents don’t want taxes to go up but they recognize that managing growth is a major concern.”
“Snow removal is the city service that garners the most targeted complaints,” Patterson said. “The most important issues today are snow removal, growth, police, traffic, crime development and roads. These are issues related to a growing and developing city.”
Additional issues and areas of complaint were in regards to dog parks, mass transit, bike paths, cleanliness, walkability, inherent safety, surface maintenance on city streets, police services, fire and medical services, recycling programs, water conservation efforts, planning, zoning, building services, senior citizen programs, city code enforcement and tax raises. 
Despite the issues, 80 percent of residents feel the city is headed in the right direction, with a 75 percent approval rate for the city council and mayor.
Forty-nine percent of respondents say Cottonwood Heights is better than it was five years ago and 90 percent total respondents would recommend Cottonwood Heights as a good place to live.
Forty-three percent of respondents say they feel safe within the city and 48 percent agree that Cottonwood Heights is a good place to raise a family.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents think the Cottonwood Heights Police (CHP) is professional and responsive. Thirty-one percent of respondents said CHP is too aggressive with impaired driving. Sixty percent agreed that CHP keeps residents safe. Forty-nine percent agreed that the CHP addresses issues that pose the biggest threats to the safety of the community. Overall, public safety trust is high and residents feel safe.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents feel the value of their tax dollar is good or excellent. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a stronger majority there,” Patterson said.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents would rather have fewer services than more taxes and 49 percent would rather have a more pedestrian-friendly community. Fifty-one percent of respondents want taxes to go toward improving and maintaining roads while devoting resources to more convenient amenities. Sixty-nine percent of respondents would be willing to support a tax increase for preserving open spaces.
Overall, 41 percent of respondents agreed that the city does a good job at managing city services. Thirty-nine percent agree that Cottonwood Heights is developing in a positive way.
More than half of respondents, 58 percent, think that major corridors should be redeveloped in the next few years. Forty-five percent of respondents think that Fort Union should become a mass transit corridor to better accommodate future transportation. However, 53 percent think that development threatens open spaces. This shows “tension between managing growth and development with preservation of open spaces,” Patterson said.
“I’m really surprised by the support for mass transit,” Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore said.
In determining where residents find information about their city, 73 percent said from the city newsletter, 8 percent said from the newspaper (yay for our readers), 7 percent from social media, 7 percent from other sources, 3 percent from the city website and 2 percent from city emails. Fewer than half of the respondents have contacted city staff within the last year. From those, 60 percent of residents were satisfied with interaction from staff.
 “Cottonwood Heights residents are being responsive. You should be quite happy with what you see here,” Patterson told the council in conclusion.
“What’s the next step?” Councilmember Mike Shelton asked.
Y2 Analytics suggested a follow-up survey where they “can go back to the same panel and where they know they are engaged.”
“I would love a follow-up, to see if we were effective,” Shelton said.
Y2 Analytics is currently working on coding the open-ended questions that were provided in the survey and relaying that information to the council. After which, council will decide if they want to go ahead and continue with a follow-up survey.
A summary of this survey will be provided by Y2 Analytics and will be available on the Cottonwood Heights website: