standing Letters

The townwide survey in Charlestown was initiated to identify the current level of residents’ satisfaction with all aspects of town government and local amenities. Previously, the town was relying on responses to a recreation survey taken almost two decades ago. This new survey expanded the information available to town administrators and elected officials to include a more global assessment of aspects of life in Charlestown. Information from the survey can be used for planning decisions for the near term. Guidelines promulgated by the American Planning Association encourage updating town plans on a regular cycle. Charlestown now has sufficient information to address the near-term satisfaction of its residents.

Because there was an approximate $3.5 million overage in the budget, Charlestown officials decided to lower the tax rate, pay down its debts, and undertake a survey of its residents. All three decisions have resulted in a financially stronger posture for the town and has gathered a wealth of information about the direction the town has taken since 2010. I imagine people will attempt to slice and dice the results by age, gender, geographic location, ownership status, work status, and other kinds of census statistical analyses. However, as Tom Gentz has pointed out in his Nov. 30 letter to the editor, the results were overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining the town’s current course. So slicing and dicing would become a purely academic exercise.

Michael Chambers


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