Jackson County Begins Large Phone Survey

Hundreds of Jackson County residents will soon receive a phone call asking for feedback about the county.

The phone survey will help Jackson County Supervisors assess residents' needs and develop goals for the County.

"Feedback from a survey gives us data we can compare and a way to set benchmarks for future research," District One Supervisor Manly Barton said.

The phone survey is made up of 36 questions and should take about 15 minutes to complete. It will measure several county topics including quality of life, government communication, county programs and customer service.

On the other end of the phone line will be researchers from the University of South Alabama. Dr. Keith Nicholls, director of the University's Polling Group, is managing the data collection for the survey. He estimates it will take almost 1,800 randomly placed phone calls over seven to ten days to reach the goal of 500 completed surveys.

"Citizen participation is the most important element of this sort of survey," Nicholls explains. "And we'll strive to make participation easy, calling at convenient times and making appointments to call back where needed.  If residents see a 251 area code come up on caller ID, remember it could be us."

The final version of the phone survey was created after researching several government surveys, a review by two local focus groups, a review by County department heads and the Board of Supervisors and finally pre-testing done by South Alabama. The County should receive the raw results at the end of April.

County department heads will review the results with their employees and develop an action plan.

Once the survey is complete, a sample version of the questionnaire will be posted on the county's website at www.jackson.ms.us for the residents to review.

Of note, a marketing firm is also conducting a separate phone survey in Jackson County about gaming. This survey is not connected to the county, in fact, the caller doesn't say who's behind the survey. Several of the questions are about the Choctaw casinos in Neshoba County and the money and investment they've brought to north Mississippi.

Again, the survey being conducted by Jackson County is not asking any questions about casinos or gaming.