By now all Franklin residents have received in the mail from the city a survey questionnaire seeking input on whether they support an increase in taxes for additional emergency services, the status quo, or cutting spending elsewhere to finance additional emergency services.
The Journal Sentinel reported the following:
Mayor Steve Olson said in a release from Mueller Communications and the city of Franklin that the survey is designed to help Franklin “finalize a public safety plan that reflects the opinions of our residents and their willingness to financially support these services.”
Late last week I asked the city:
1) Could you please send me the release?
2) Can you tell me what the cost of having Mueller work on the release was?
3) What is the cost of the survey?
Pretty simple stuff. But this is Franklin we’re talking about where nothing is easy.
I did get some information today from the City Clerk.
Attached is the documentation from the Common Council meeting of February 19, 2018, relating to the Public Safety Services review by Mueller Communications. The following action was taken at that meeting:
“Alderman Taylor moved to authorize staff to proceed with a project for a Public Safety Services review, including an Options Assessment and Citizen Survey, relative to Fire Department services and some Police services for an amount not-to-exceed $42,000 and to authorize the Director of Administration to prepare and execute service contracts as contemplated for the project, including but not limited to a contract with Mueller Communications, subject to input from the City Attorney as needed. Seconded by Alderman Barber. All voted Aye; motion carried.”
Contained in the six-page attachment:
Mueller’s proposal comes in two phases.
Phase I: Further evaluation of the issue and related options.
Phase II: Development and execution of a community survey that would garner public input on those options.
Mueller’s direct costs are hourly but are estimated to be between $12,000 and $14,000 with an additional 5 percent service and technology fee ($600-$700).
A third party vendor, Community Perceptions, would also be engaged that has expertise in developing and analyzing survey documents. That cost is estimated to be between $10,000 and $15,000.
ADDITIONALLY, Phase II requires printing and postage for the survey with an estimated cost of $8,500.
Phases I and II would have an estimated cost of between $31,100 and $38,200.
Seems to me that could go a long way toward hiring another police officer or firefighter.
I daresay someone like me who has lots of experience in writing and public policy could have met with the mayor and city staff to discuss the issue at hand and determine what input the city is seeking from residents. That would have conservatively taken about an hour.
Another hour could have then been spent compiling the questions for the survey the city could review and edit/tweak to their heart’s desire.
Again, even at a conservative rate of $150/hour you’re talking $300, maybe $450. You still would have to send out a mailer and have someone “analyze” the survey findings, but sizeable savings could have been made.
This entire survey and the process is an utter waste.
In a nutshell, the survey is biased, designed to persuade people there is a need for increased property taxes.