The Voices Of Our Townspeople Matter

I am committed to representing the townspeople who elected me mayor of Estes Park and pursuing the common good on their behalf. Gathering and processing information is essential to my fulfillment of that commitment. I gather information through various informal (i.e., meetings, phone calls, etc.) and formal (i.e., hearings, studies, surveys, etc.) means and then process it using several methods.

The National Community Survey (NCS) is an example of one formal information source. Over 600 local jurisdictions throughout the USA use the statistically valid survey tool to survey people about their community and local government. This is the fifth time Estes has used NCS. Surveys have been gathered in 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2018 and 2021. Each application of the survey generated data about the same 10 areas: economy, mobility, community design, utilities, safety, natural environment, parks and recreation, health and wellness, education, arts and culture, inclusivity and engagement.

Kate Rusch, our public information officer discussed the results of this year’s survey at our October 26 board meeting. These survey results are posted on the town website at The online results explain how results are compared to other communities and what is significant statistically. I encourage those interested to visit the website.

When considering the data, please keep three aspects of the methodology and analysis front of mind. One, 632 people responded to 1609 surveys received by residents. Our community’s 39-percent response rate is high when compared to a 15 to 30-percent rate typical for other communities. Two, data from the mailed surveys were weighted to reflect the overall demographic composition of Estes Park. Three, an online version of the survey was available in August. Those responses are not combined in the 1609 mailed surveys because those responses are considered nonscientific.

Our community’s results are compared to the most recent survey completed in over 600 communities, answering the same questions. This process produces a benchmark. The benchmarks of previous surveys are available allowing the town to analyze the direction we are heading when compared to previous years.

These results are considered as we review our strategic plan and annual budgets. The second budget meeting is scheduled for November 9th. Adding these survey results to our data base enhances our ability to provide a targeted budget to meet the needs of our community.

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