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The City Journals

Residents weigh in

Mar 07, 2018 01:17PM ● By Aspen Perry

Example of data change after the announcement of initial application proposed by Ivory/Woodbury. (Property tax vs. increase development graph/City of Holladay website)

Recently, the city of Holladay conducted a survey with the assistance of Y2 Analytics in an effort to get a pulse on how residents feel about pressing city issues. 

“We’ve been debating whether to run a city survey for a couple of years,” Mayor Rob Dahle said in a phone interview. 

“Generally, we were happy with the results,” Dahle said. 

After debating for a couple years whether a resident survey would be beneficial, and perhaps more importantly worth the cost, the city had Y2 Analytics collect data from mid-November through mid-December. Unaware at the time that the city would receive plans for the Cottonwood mall site in late November. 

Dahle expressed slight frustration when the survey ended up overlapping with the initial proposal of the Cottonwood site redevelopment, as it appeared to skew some of the data collected. 

“We really feel like some of the data was polluted by opinions of that application,” Dahle said. 

Once the plans for the Cottonwood site redevelopment were announced and the first public hearing took place, the focus of residents participating in the survey shifted to viewing one development plan vs. viewing city development as a whole. 

Prior to Nov. 21, 61 percent of residents felt the city was moving in the right direction. After Nov. 21, the percentage dropped to 52. 

Another significant shift in opinion regarded the way in which residents preferred the city increase revenue in order to provide the same level of city services. Increasing revenue to maintain the same level of service is necessary since the city currently operates on a flat budget, which creates issues paying for services that rise in cost each year.   

Prior to the Cottonwood site redevelopment plan being announced, 72 percent of residents preferred the city obtain more revenue by increasing development, which decreased to 58 percent after the plan was announced.  

The variance in opinion was then averaged, with Y2 Analytics reporting that overall 62 percent of residents would rather see an increase in development than an increase in property taxes. 

Additionally, city staff was surprised to discover the low rating regarding the planning department, considering staff and council receive such frequent praise about city planning. 

“The planning department) always get rave reviews, (praising) how good our guys are to work with, so that surprised me,” Dahle said. 

Despite the slight change in some areas of the survey, overall responses were shown not to waver much in other areas. Such as the way residents viewed their quality of life in Holladay, which averaged 81 percent.  

Quality of life was on the high end of the spectrum even though residents also reported leaving the city to do the majority of their dining, shopping, visiting commercial office spaces and utilizing recreational parks. The only category residents reported utilizing Holladay services more frequently than neighboring cities was the library. 

As can be expected, residents felt the Cottonwood mall redevelopment to be the most important issue facing Holladay in the next three to five years, with growth and traffic also ranking as top concerns. 

As for what residents love most about living in Holladay, the following were listed: trees, community, people and location. Residents rated community events as one of the in-house city services they are the most satisfied with, at 72 percent. 

“This reinforced my feeling about people’s desire to get out in their community,” Dahle said. 

Even with the city in the midst of potential redevelopment growth, residents that participated in the survey still love where they live. Overall, Holladay residents felt the city was a safe place to raise a family, with 93 percent saying they would recommend Holladay as a good place to live to friends and family.