The Oro Valley Town Council has rejected a proposal to use reserve funds to pay for a citizen satisfaction survey.
Town Finance Director Stacey Lemos requested the council release as much as $20,000 to pay for an outside firm to conduct the survey, similar to one done in 2008.
The council unanimously voted to put off discussion of funding a citizen survey until the next budget cycle.
“We had a survey of some 16,000 people,” Councilman Joe Hornat said. “It was called an election.”
Hornat said people in the community don’t want the town to spend money on surveys at a time when local services face budget cuts.
“If I was going to spend the money, I would want to spend it on tangibles,” Hornat said. He gave the examples of using any additional funds on expanded swimming pool hours of operation, or on roadway projects.
Councilman Steve Solomon said residents already have ways to let the council and other town officials know what they think. Residents can telephone or e-mail officials, and they can use the “call to audience” portions of council meetings to express their concerns, he said.
Lemos told the council that survey results in 2008 were used to gauge the spending priorities of residents.
The council decided not to fund the survey in the current budget year.
Town Communications Administrator Mary Davis said the 2008 survey gave Oro Valley officials a way to understand residents’ expectations, and how people like to receive information from the town.
“It allowed us to have, for the first time, a benchmark,” Davis said.
Councilman Bill Garner said it might be premature to do the survey before statewide budget issues are settled. If the Arizona Legislature reduces state-shared revenues that help pay for town operations, Garner said, the expectations of residents would likely change.
In other items, the council also unanimously approved a series of changes to the town’s volunteer boards and commissions.
Oro Valley plans to dissolve the finance and bond committee as a standing commission.
The council also made changes to the parks and recreation advisory board. Board members will no longer have to attend and report on the meetings of other boards and commissions.
The changes would focus the board’s duties to those powers spelled out in town code.
The final change would consolidate the development review board with the art review commission. The new board would be called the conceptual design review board. Duties of the new board would include review and recommendation for council approval of conceptual site, architecture and public art plans.
The new board would also review and approve master sign programs.
Board membership would consist of seven regular voting members. At least four of the voting members would have to have experience in the fields of art, architecture, landscape architecture, planning, engineering, development or construction.
Members would serve three-year terms. They could serve up to two consecutive terms.
All board members must be Oro Valley residents.
The council plans to vote on zoning code amendments in March or April to implement the changes.