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December 19. 2013 10:20PM

Hooksett residents had few kind words for town in survey

HOOKSETT — According to the results of a town survey commissioned by the Town Council, residents have a below average opinion of the direction the town is headed in and a much below average opinion of the town's overall reputation.

"We discussed this at the Town Council meeting Wednesday, and (Town Administrator Dean) Shankle pointed out there are some good things and some bad things in the survey results. But we will take action to correct the problems indicated in the survey," Council Chairman James Sullivan said.

According to the survey, 53 respondents believe the direction the town is taking is at least good, while 60 percent of respondents feel the image of the town to be at least good.

Sullivan expressed confusion as to the reputation of the town score being so low and questioned if it had more to do with what is going on with the Hooksett School Board than the Town Council.

"It's hard to say what respondents were thinking about, but 60 percent is not a good number," Sullivan said.

The survey was created and distributed by the National Research Center and cost roughly $14,000. According to Shankle, the survey is statistically valid. According to the report included with the survey, the results have a 5 percent margin for error.

Despite an average that is considered below average, respondents did indicate an overall happiness with the quality of life the town offers; 21 percent of the responders rated the overall quality of life in Hooksett as excellent, with 60 percent saying that it is good. Also, 90 percent of the respondents said they were at least somewhat likely to remain in Hooksett long term, with 59 percent saying they are at least very likely to remain in town for five years.

The survey also indicates an inherent pride among residents. While quality-of-life measurements were all designated as roughly average, residents were more likely to recommend Hooksett as a great place to live to anyone who asks. While Hooksett rated below average as a place to retire, it rated above average as a place to raise kids.

However, the town was rated as much below average when it comes to opportunities in town to volunteer and to participate in community matters. The town also rated below average in opportunities to participate in social events and activities and religious or spiritual events.

However, the survey indicated a general unhappiness with transportation in the town.

Only 48 percent of the respondents rated the ease of vehicle travel in town as being at least good; ease of bus travel was rated at least good by only 10 percent; ease of bicycle travel was rated at 20 percent; ease of walking rated at 26 percent; and 25 percent rated traffic flow as at least good.

Criteria related to the roads were also ranked generally below average, including street repair and lighting. However, in a bit of good news for the town, snow removal satisfaction was rated much higher than average.

In areas of public safety, residents rated the town as being at least average in all categories, including police, fire emergency services and crime prevention.

Sullivan said the survey is still available for residents to take, and added that the Town Council will take a more in-depth analysis of the results in January.

bklein@newstote.com


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