Newly appointed Joseph City Council member Kathy Bingham didn’t take long to have an impact. At her first official meeting in October, she suggested the city survey its citizens in order to learn their priorities.
Bingham said she hit upon the survey idea when she filled out her application for the council position. One of the questions on the application asked the three hottest issues for Joseph citizens and how the council could respond to the concerns.
“I said to myself, ‘How would I know?’ We have to ask the citizens,” she said. “My opinion doesn’t matter ... We have to have citizen involvement in our city government.”
A survey seemed the logical answer to Bingham, and with the council’s unanimous approval, she went about creating one. The survey went out as part of the city’s November newsletter in late November. It can also be obtained at Joseph City Hall and on the city’s website: josephoregon.org.
The survey asks citizens to name their top six priorities for the council in order of importance. Other questions ask for gender, age group categories 18-34; 35-49; 50-65 and 65 and older. While the survey doesn’t ask for names, it asks for addresses to make certain that respondents live within the city limits.
“It’s important for us to have a good cross-section of age groups and males and females,” Bingham said.
The council wanted the survey to go out to anyone who owned property in Joseph and perhaps lived elsewhere.
“If people have a vested interest in Joseph, such as a business, and they happen to live outside of town, I’d still like to know what they’re thinking,” Bingham said.
The surveys were sent to everyone who receives a water bill in the city.
Bingham estimates that 50- 70 surveys of the 600 or so that went out have been returned to city hall so far. While she is pleased with the response, she said that a 20-25 percent return would show a clearer view. She also said she recognizes it’s winter and some citizens have departed for warmer climes.
“I don’t care if you’re 16, I don’t care if you’re 85,” Bingham said. “If you have some thoughts about what we should be doing, get a survey, fill it out, and send it in. That’s how the council will know what citizens want us to do.”
Joseph City Hall is located at 201 N. Main St.