Okay, the facts are in on the Town of Stephenville Budget Summary and there were few, if any big surprises.
A total of 264 residents completed the survey online and 86 individuals returned a written copy to the town for a total of 350 returned surveys.
The survey return represents eight per cent of the eligible voters in the town and 15 per cent of those who actually voted in last fall’s municipal election. Not a big overall percentage.
Mark Felix, chair of the town’s finance committee, said the survey results were reviewed by the Stephenville town council and considered in the final budget 2018 decision making process.
No surprise in that 86.9 per cent of the respondents said council should maintain current tax rates and utilize its existing budget to prioritize better infrastructure, road maintenance and recreational facilities.
Another almost no-brainer was that council should continue to provide grant funding to not-for-profit groups and organizations. There were 82.6 per cent of the respondents in favour of that and with the amount of volunteer work done in the community, why wouldn’t there be?
There have been some serious accidents at the intersection of Prince Rupert Drive and Queen Street, so it wasn’t surprising that 85.4 per cent of the respondents agreed that council should consider installing a traffic light at that intersection.
With that said, is there consideration to such an installation causing other problems, such as a backup of traffic on a red light impeding access into the A&W parking lot and a little further back the ingress and egress into the Stephenville Middle School?
Looks great on paper, but in practice, it still remains to be seen.
There was another question about whether council should provide grant funding to a variety of not-for-profit groups and organizations, to which 82.6 per cent of respondents said yes. Another no-brainer, as why cut off the hand that feeds you? Without supporting volunteers, you’re dead in the water.
For the question on whether council should continue to support the Walk-A-Ways Trail Committee, the answer had 90.3 per cent in support, which is totally no surprise. This group has done great work in the town with a network of trails and can only continue to improve, especially with town support.
Some 67.1 per cent of respondents support council working with the Royal Canadian Legion and other partners to develop a plan to renovate the War Memorial in the town. Why wouldn’t they? Remembering those who gave us our freedom is so important.
Not surprising with an aging population is 78 per cent of respondents felt council should consider making land available for the development of more senior housing facilities in the town.
Lots of support for Stephenville airport with 56.3 per cent agreeing council should continue to provide grant funding to the Stephenville Airport Corporation; 65.4 per cent of respondents willing to have taxes increased to support continued operation of the airport and 69.1 felt other municipalities in the region should contribute to airport operations.
But one of the biggest was that if council could only fund one of three things was that 85.4 per cent of respondents said road improvements and fixing potholes over building more playgrounds and providing grants to not-for-profit organizations.
All things considered that makes big sense, especially at this time of the year.