Vernon Hills latest Lake County community to survey residents

  • Vernon Hills is planning a communitywide survey to gauge resident opinion in a range of areas.

      Vernon Hills is planning a communitywide survey to gauge resident opinion in a range of areas. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Updated 12/9/2015 11:42 AM

Vernon Hills will become the latest Lake County community to survey residents for input and observations on a variety of topics.

The results of the National Citizen Survey would be used as village officials consider updates to the village's long-range plans and in future budget discussions.


"It can also help tell us what we're doing right, where we may need to improve and where there may be community needs which we are not aware of," according to Village Manager John Kalmar.

The village board on Tuesday gave unanimous support for the not-to-exceed $15,000 effort designed to gather opinions across a range of issues or topics and measure the "livability" of a community.

"Maybe there's something we need to do we're missing," Mayor Roger Byrne said. "It's a chance for the resident to tell us about the good, bad or ugly."

Rather than a scientific survey that would target a specific audience or number of residents, Kalmar said it should be open to anyone. The survey will be made available online and in paper form, he said.

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Questions will be customized for Vernon Hills residents, and a final version will be reviewed by the board before post cards are sent to residents. Tailored questions likely will cover senior programming and housing, as well as perceived safety and may include an opportunity for general comment.

The survey would be overseen by Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center Inc., which has completed surveys for Libertyville, Lake Zurich, Schaumburg, Skokie, and Winnetka.

Libertyville received 919 responses representing 12 percent of households. That's more than twice the number in 2009, the last time residents were surveyed, according to Village Administrator Kevin Bowens. The results are being reviewed so it is not yet known whether there will be any immediate impact on village operations or programs, for example.

Ninety-eight percent of respondents rated Libertyville good or excellent as a place to live, while 48 percent considered it a good place to retire, according to the conclusions. Sixty-two percent considered the services received for taxes paid as excellent or good. Also, while 97 percent said they felt safe in town and in their neighborhood, safety received the highest rating of importance for strategic planning.

In Lake Zurich, 94 percent of respondents regarded the town as an excellent or good place to live and two-thirds said they would pay more in taxes to ensure good snow plowing and ice removal, though they weren't as enthusiastic about paying for special events or to maintain public beaches.

Management Analyst Kyle Kordell said local governments are under pressure to use data wisely. Because the survey was data driven, the likelihood of prioritizing services to match resident preferences increases, he said.

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