The Linbrook Park Gas Lease Survey forms were mailed out at the beginning of May. Residents were to respond by May 25th; however, we continued to receive forms after that date. The responses received up to June 8th were recorded. Those received afterwards were not. Had we recorded the surveys received after June 8th (19 total) it would not have changed the survey results in any material way.
As of June 8th we logged 1,674 responses, 5,298 were sent out. The survey response rate is 31.6%. Even though a self-addressed envelope was included in the mailer, 68.4% of our residents did not respond to the survey.
Also, 24 or 1.4% of the respondents gave their vote to Council and Mayor by proxy (question #2). Those 24 individuals were in favor of the lease. This group’s average score was 3.8 on the survey scale. We did not include these proxy votes in the figures. Had we done so it would not have materially changed the results. Here are the results:
Number ( %)
Strongly oppose the lease 754 (45.7%)
Oppose the lease 136 (8.2%)
Neutral 135 (8.2%)
Support the lease 280 (17.0%)
Strongly Support the lease 345 (20.9%)
Totals 1,650 (100%)
The overwhelming reason residents stated for being against the lease was a concern for the environment.
Residents who are on well water were concerned the subsurface drilling would affect the quantity and/or quality of their water and gave that as the reason for being against the lease. The overwhelming reason given by those in favor of the lease, the drilling will take place regardless of what decision the borough makes, so why not take advantage of the opportunity.
The survey also asked borough residents to evaluate other borough services. Here are the results from the 1,674 responses received from our residents:
- Need to improve Police 98 (5.8%)
- Need to improve Administration 108 (6.5%)
- Need to improve Parks and Rec. 177 (10.6%)
- Need to improve Public Works/Roads 687 (41.0%)
- Overall rating for all borough services 4.1 (Good)
The following summary of responses should be evaluated in light of the above percentages and the knowledge that we have about issues or problems previously expressed by our residents. For example, we know that some vehicular speeding complaints are not substantiated by the subsequent studies, or complaints about code enforcement is a typical reaction when a property owner is cited.
Summary of Responses
Many of the responses to improve Administration pertained to Council, Mayor, Manager, the administrative staff and Building/Code Enforcement. These comments centered on high taxes, transparency, code enforcement not being fair, management not knowing what they are doing and similar comments. One comment claimed, “no one answers the phones”.
The input regarding Parks and Recreation pertained to the need for better programs and facilities. Based on prior knowledge, residents with children and some senior citizens are the groups who want to see an expansion or improvements in Parks and Recreation. In the recent past we’ve received many positive comments regarding the existing park facilities conditions. In the comment section on page 3, residents have indicated some of the new or additional facilities/programs they would like to see.
The comments pertaining to the police had to do with better police presence in residential areas, speeding on major roads and in neighborhoods, stop sign violations and the like.
The comments regarding Public Works/Roads pertained to potholes, poor road conditions, snow being plowed onto driveways, drainage problems, etc. Many of these complaints pertained to State and County roads. A few comments were related to roads owned by the Borough. Numerous comments involved traffic congestion at I-79 & SR 910.
There appeared to be an organized effort to sway residents to vote against the lease. One response indicated as much, another responder cut & pasted his/her answers to the survey. Lastly, a fair amount of responses from those opposed to the lease used identical or very similar wording.
What we can learn from the survey is that individuals who are passionately against or in favor of an issue will vote in greater numbers than the average population. Many individuals were either strongly in favor of or against the lease; 66% of the responses were either ones (1) or fives (5).
Several purists complained the survey should have indicated questions #4, #5 and #6 did not pertain to the gas lease survey. Mea Culpa!
The problems, concerns or beliefs expressed by borough residents in the general comment section of the survey are as follows: (listed from those most mentioned to least mentioned).
- Road conditions, traffic congestion, potholes, mostly related to County and State roads
- Development related issues (claims of too much development, that standards need to be increased and a claim of lack of enforcement)
- Requests for sidewalks, walking trails & bike paths
- Traffic control, speeding, stop sign violations, the need for more police presence
- Traffic congestion at I-79 & SR 910 corridor
- Deer problem, Borough should do more
- Leaf collection (requests to be more like the Town of McCandless) leaf vacuum and yard waste recycling container at every home
- Borough should reduce taxes
- Need for more senior programs
- Disc Golf (finish the back 9 holes)
- Need for a dog park
- Brush collection, do later in Spring
- Litter along major roadways
- Snow plowed onto sidewalks
- Put gas lease on ballot, C & M should not make this decision
- Need for more transparency or keep citizens informed
- Trim trees and branches on roadways
- Too much salt on winter roads
- Cell tower, need better cellular coverage
- Traffic control at Brandt School and Orchard Hill Church on Sunday mornings
- Acorn tree harvesting, shouldn’t be done
- Claims of survey bias
- One request to remove traffic cameras at I-79 & SR 910
Nine Borough residents provided written statements, both in support of and against the lease. The statements are on file should anyone wish to see them.