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2006 Citizen Survey Results

BUDGET PRIORITIES

The City’s new budgeting approach, Budgeting for Outcomes, allocates resources among seven goals or outcomes, based on what is important to the community. The survey questionnaire presented respondents with a list of the seven goals (Figure 22), which included a short description of each one. For each goal, respondents stated whether the goal should receive more, the same or less effort than it currently receives. They also had the option of selecting no opinion.

Taking into account the random sampling margin of error5 and respondents who selected no opinion, statistically reliable majorities of respondents said that two goals should be given more effort: improving economic health and improving transportation. For all of the other goals, majorities said they should be given the same level of effort as they currently receive.

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Regardless of how long respondents have lived in Fort Collins, the majority of them favored more effort to improve economic health. However, respondents who have lived in Fort Collins for five or fewer years were significantly less likely to favor more effort than respondents who have lived in the city for longer periods of time. About 51 percent of respondents who have lived in Fort Collins for five or fewer years favored more effort to improve economic health, compared to about 61 percent favoring more effort among respondents who have lived in Fort Collins for more than five years.

Regardless of where they live in Fort Collins, most residents preferred that improving neighborhood quality should receive the same level of effort as it currently receives. However, respondents who live north of Drake Road were more likely to favor more effort toward improving neighborhood quality (37%) than those who live south of Drake Road (20%).

Most respondents (89%) indicated that at least one of the seven goals should be given more effort, and they were asked to choose a means of funding the extra effort. The questionnaire presented three funding options: new or increased taxes, new or increased fees and reducing efforts to achieve other goals. Respondents could select more than one option.

As Figure 23 shows, no single funding option received majority support. For example, of the 465 respondents (59% of all respondents) who favored more effort to improve economic health, 38 percent of them selected new or increased fees to fund the additional effort, 37 percent of them selected reducing other goals, only 24 percent selected new or increased taxes, and 14 percent selected none of the three funding options. The same general pattern of preferences is evident among the 452 respondents (58% of all respondents) who favored more effort to improve transportation, and it is evident among the 699 respondents (89% of all respondents) who favored more effort for any one or more of the seven goals. Generally, these respondents preferred new or increased fees or reducing efforts to achieve other goals over new or increased taxes.

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Respondents who indicated that at least one of the seven goals should be given more effort and selected the option of funding the additional effort by reducing efforts to achieve other goals were asked to select the other goals where efforts should be reduced. Out of 786 total respondents, 172 (22%) expressed a preference for giving more effort to improving economic health and funding the additional effort by reducing efforts to achieve other goals; 167 (21%) respondents preferred more effort to improve transportation and funding the additional effort by reducing efforts to achieve other goals; 259 (33%) respondents, overall, preferred more effort to achieve one or more of the seven goals and funding the additional effort by reducing efforts to achieve other goals. The other goals that these respondents selected for reduced efforts are shown in Figure 24. Regardless of whether they were in favor of more effort to improve economic health, transportation or any other goal, they showed a preference for funding the additional effort by reducing efforts to achieve a high performing government, improved neighborhood quality, and, to a lesser extent, improved cultural, recreational and educational opportunities.

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Some respondents wrote specific comments regarding budget priorities and funding, which are summarized below.

  • Keep Youth Activity Center open 3.9%
  • Need more funding for libraries 1.9%
  • Stop buying open space 1.9%
  • Need special library tax district 0.6%
  • Spend less on public transportation 0.3%
  • Spend less on environment 0.1%

5 At the 95 percent confidence level, the percentage of respondents saying more effort should be devoted to improving economic health is 59 percent, plus-or-minus 3.44 percentage points (55.6% to 62.4%). The percentage of respondents saying more effort should be devoted to improving transportation is 58 percent, plus-or-minus 3.45 percentage points (54.6% to 61.5%).