Trustees reconsider survey following change in cost

YELLOW CREEK – An income survey promoted by township trustees will require further consideration following a surprise revelation.

At Tuesday evening’s township meeting, trustee Kenny Biacco said he had again spoken with Tad Herold, director of the Columbiana County Development Department, who had attended the previous trustees meeting on March 26, along with department coordinator Pam Dray, to answer questions regarding a proposed township income survey.

At that meeting, Herold and Dray recounted their previous efforts at carrying out such surveys throughout the county. Among the findings shared with trustees and residents who attended the March 26 meeting was their opinion that collecting the needed information in person, door-to-door, yielded far better results than sending out mailings.

The cost of carrying out the survey in person versus by mail had been estimated to be roughly equal, at approximately $1,500. With the door-to-door method said to have provided superior results, trustees showed enthusiasm for taking that route.

However, Biacco said when Herold called him recently to follow up, Herold admitted that an oversight had been made. The door-to-door survey for a sewer project in Hanoverton, which was used by Herold and Dray as their primary example at the March 26 meeting, did not encompass the entire town. In fact, the $1,500 paid to the unnamed polling firm was only for surveying 50 households.

By contrast, in order to carry out a valid income survey of Yellow Creek Township, between 300 and 400 homes would need to be polled.

According to Biacco, Herold apologized to him personally, saying he only recalled what the Hanoverton survey had cost and had not been aware of its small sample size. “I kind of questioned that,” Biacco said. “If they could do Yellow Creek Township for $1,500, that’s pretty good.”

McKenzie mentioned that $1,500 to survey 50 households equaled a rate of $30 per home, which would come out to $9,000 to poll the previously-stated minimum number of 300 homes.

“And that was a while back,” Biacco added. “I’m sure that’s increased by now.”

By contrast, Biacco says the estimated $1,500 cost of a mailed survey was for 900 homes in the township, and includes the forms, envelopes and postage for the mailing itself as well as the return envelopes. “It would be between $1,500 and $1,700. That’s [for] everything.”

When asked if that eliminates the idea of a door-to-door survey, Biacco said he and McKenzie will wait until they hear back from Herold with quotes from other polling firms and make a decision then. “I mean, if [Herold] comes back and says, ‘I found a firm in Cleveland that will do it for $7,500,’ that’s just out of the question,” Biacco said.

In order to qualify for the larger government grants being eyed by trustees, such as those awarded via the Community Development Block Grant program, a township must have a population with 51 percent or more whose median income demonstrates a need for further community assistance. Herold and Dray stated that income information from such a survey – approved by the county – generally finds more low-income households than the United States Census Bureau does.

In other news:

* Trustees settled on Saturday, May 31, from 9 a.m. to noon, for the township’s annual used tire drive at the township meeting hall, 42793 Oak Ridge Road. As in the past, only automobile and light truck tires will be accepted; no large truck or tractor tires will be permitted. There will be a limit of 10 tires per person.