Resident Surveys Arrive!

The borough mailed out its resident surveys this week in an attempt to gauge public opinion on the worth of various borough services and amenities.

The borough mailed out its to all Fair Lawn property owners and renters this week, a few days earlier than anticipated.

The two-page double-sided surveys, which ask residents to answer questions about demographics, municipal engagement and social service preferences, must be completed and returned to the borough -- via mail or borough building drop-off -- by Oct. 1 to be considered.

The responses provided by residents will inform the council’s future budgetary decisions around what services the town may be forced to reduce or eliminate in wake of today's harsh economic realities.

"If you don’t exercise your right to respond to a survey, then don’t complain about your elected officials making the best judgment that they make,” Deputy Mayor Ed Trawinski, a supporter of mailing out the survey, said in July.

Personal information about residents, who are identified only by their block and lot number, will not be revealed to employees analyzing the data. 

A July Patch survey that sought to gauge resident support of the borough's attempt to poll the public found that 72 percent of respondents believed it was "a good idea," assuming a decent response rate.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, assistant borough manager Jim Van Kruiningen said two residents had already returned their completed surveys.

Who's going to be next?

For more information, call the Borough Manager’s Office at 201-794-5314.  


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NothingdoneRIGHT August 28, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Thanks Zak, I will attend next BOE meeting, its time to end wasteful spending!
barbara kardos August 28, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I turned on the tv and was informed that a digital cable box was needed to receive basic tv service. One year free is meaningless. Why has fair lawn allowed this monoply to take this action against their residents? Tenefly had the same notice until now. Their residence basic service seems restored to their tv's. A digital cable box is now not needed. Barbara Kardos
The Most Interesting Man in the World August 29, 2012 at 01:11 AM
If those in charge knew what to do, they would not need to ask. So, the first thing is to hire somebody that knows what to do.
Perry August 29, 2012 at 01:34 AM
The response rate will be low. They knew this before they wasted our money. DONT respond. We should have BINDING referrendums instead.
BH1 August 29, 2012 at 10:23 AM
"Personal information about residents, who are identified only by their block and lot number" Not True. Mine has a label with block and lot number. Also has my name and address on it.
fairlawn taxpayer August 29, 2012 at 10:53 AM
this survey is a joke and is slanted to what the council wants people to decide. get rid of the council first and let the town be run by professionals, not part-timers.
Stuart Pace August 29, 2012 at 11:21 AM
I have to spend 44 cents to mail it back? Sending mine to Ron in recycling.
Me August 29, 2012 at 01:17 PM
How is it a monopoly if you can get FIOS or DirectTV? And you can still get channels for free from Cablevision. You just need a tv that's digital-ready. Most HD tvs are digital ready. But you'll only get channels 2 through 11 pretty much in HD only.
Sally J August 29, 2012 at 01:23 PM
What a total waste of $7,000. First of all the average person is not going to fill in a 4 page survey. Why is it so long? Second, it is clear that no one with polling or survey experience created this, so the results are not going to give an accurate picture. Third, how many people are actually going to remember to put it in an envelope and put their own stamp on it and mail it back? This is the 21st century why isn't this survey online (I don't buy that online surveys are more expensive, as Metzler claimed)? Finally, why is it only 1 per household? What if not everyone in the household has the same opinions? Should we start to change our voting system in FL to one vote per household? I am glad at least the 2 Democratic members of the council had enough brains to realize that this is a total waste of money and voted against it. We live in a Representative Democracy not a Survey-Based Democracy. Maybe our Republican council members are just too busy to actually do the work themselves and figure out what needs to be cut and what should be saved. It's free to just walk around town, knock on residents doors, and ask them their thoughts.
Zak Koeske August 29, 2012 at 01:24 PM
@BH1 I'll have to check on this, but there weren't supposed to be any obvious identifiers.
Me August 29, 2012 at 01:38 PM
"It's free to just walk around town, knock on residents doors, and ask them their thoughts." Really? Who would do that for free? You? So think about. People work during the day. So now you have to get someone to walk around after hours, maybe around 6 to about 8 or 9. Now you are interrupting dinner time. Do you think they wanted to be interrupted with a 4 page survey? So now you can say, let's do it on the weekend. But people and families do things on the weekend and you may not get such a great turn out. Your points are contradicting. First you say $7000 is a waste, yet you want more than one survey sent to a household, which would have cost more. Now lets go back to your "walking" around point. You'd have to hire people. And that will cost more than $7000 of course. The only point you have is the stamp part. They could have had a drop off box like they do for the water and tax payments. That would have been nice.
Me August 29, 2012 at 01:42 PM
OH NO! 44 cents! Now you can't buy that pack of gum you wanted! Seriously? It's 44 cents and how often do you send a letter out.
Susan Cohen August 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
My name was on my survey.
Jenne August 29, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Can't you drop it off at the borough office?
Zak Koeske August 29, 2012 at 03:15 PM
@Me The surveys don't have to be mailed. They may be placed in the night depository drop box in the rear parking of the Municipal Building marked “Tax & Water Payments”.
Zak Koeske August 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM
@BH1 - Here's a response from the borough manager's office: "The address labels were provided by the Borough’s Tax Assessor’s Office which contains the property owner’s name, address including block and lot number, however the address information will not be revealed with the results of the survey."
Zak Koeske August 29, 2012 at 03:17 PM
@Jenne - yes, you can drop the completed surveys off at the municipal building or in the drop box outside
Stuart Pace August 29, 2012 at 03:27 PM
well with my taxes going up 400 dollars, 44 cents means alot.
Me August 29, 2012 at 03:34 PM
AWESOME! I didn't know that. Did it say that in the mailer? Thanks Zak.
The Most Interesting Man in the World August 29, 2012 at 04:42 PM
What i think they are saying above is to spend an evening or 2 and randomly ask resident's opinion. Knocking on doors like they do before an election and ask for your vote, but instead ask for suggestions. This might be have better reponse and cost nothing, either way it won't make politicians do unpopular things and since they tell the manager what is on the table, nothing will actually be accomplished. So the choice is do nothing, spend $7000 on a mailed survey and do nothing or politicians ask residents directly and do nothing. History says the can will be kicked down the road, what do you think?
NothingdoneRIGHT August 29, 2012 at 04:53 PM
This resident survey tells me everyone running this town are yellow, with no real b***s to address the real issues. The BOE is soaking residents with a huge budget surpassing 86 million dollars! Memorial pool is empty everyday and is a waste of taxpayers money, the Library is collecting dust not revenue, the community center is a BUST, with nobody capable of running it correctly, the Community School is unecessary and should be closed, and after all this is done maybe we can head in the right direction! These politicians know the issues, they are afraid to address them!
gloria August 29, 2012 at 06:57 PM
The council IS addressing the issue , that's why they sent out a survey. I like the survey. It gives me a chance, as a Fair Lawn homeowner, to express my views thoughtfully. If we got rid of all the programs and services you suggest, it would make Fair Lawn a very unattractive place to live for families. Who would buy your house when you move?.Not a senior citizen! For Fair Lawn to survive as a thriving community we have to think "US" not "ME ME".
Tom Buck August 29, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Sally we do not live in a representative democracy. We live in a REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC. There is a world of difference between the two.
Tom Buck August 29, 2012 at 07:06 PM
There is a much cheaper way to do this survey, that addresses many of the concerns above. Its called the ballot box. Make the vote binding. Enjoy the savings.
Me August 29, 2012 at 07:45 PM
What's that? Someone call me?
es August 29, 2012 at 08:00 PM
44 cents may mean a lot to you, but not to the USPS which demands 45 cents.
Stuart Pace August 29, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Wait, so our council met with thousands of people, just last year, as they campaigned and then they send out a questionnaire to find out residents likes and dislikes? Ummmmmmmmmmm, was anyone listening when they met with the (ahem) thousands of residents during their campaign? Strange way to spend 7 grand, 10 months after being on the streets all summer.
Zak Koeske August 30, 2012 at 10:27 AM
@NothingdoneRIGHT - From Board of Ed president Mike Rosenberg: "The Community School is self-funding and it does not cost the taxpayers any money. In fact, it saves the taxpayers money."
Tommy P August 30, 2012 at 06:47 PM
When you ran for council, you never knocked on my door. The only candidate that did wasn't even running for council. The reality is they know full well the vast majority will not respond. I just got home today, looked through my mail and no survey. I suspect I am not alone. The reality is 100% of borough and BOE employees who live here (unlike Tom Metzler) will respond and the vast majority won't. We will see some skewed results and nothing will change. Tom Buck is right, these questions belong on a ballot as binding referendum, not junk mail that creates more "work" for borough hall.
Stuart Pace August 30, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I didn't say me TP. A few council people said they knocked on thousands of doors. So didn't they discuss the residents concerns then? DId the concerns change in 10 months?


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