22 is the percentage of people polled in Santa Fe County who cited “Street Maintenance and Repair” as issues on which the county should focus in the next five years.
15 is the combined percentage of people who cited creating jobs and improving the economy as a priority.
On Oct. 12, Matt Hughes, senior vice president of Albuquerque firm Research & Polling Inc., presented the results of a two-week survey of the priorities of 709 Santa Fe County residents living outside the city.
The $26,000 survey was conducted to assist the Board of County Commissioners in making budget cuts. Those surveyed mention jump-starting the economy and employment priorities, but those concerns rank lower than other matters. Nine percent of respondents cite increasing jobs as a way Santa Fe County government could improve the county in the next five years, and 6 percent choose improving the economy.
Together, that’s 15 percent of respondents. By contrast, 22 percent cite maintaining roads and repairing streets as a priority.
Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling, says initially he was surprised at the survey’s results, but that they make sense because “people focus on things they feel the county government can grapple with.”
The economy also rates lower when residents rate priorities for county services. For example, 83 percent of people cite water conservation programs as a high or very high priority, and 73 percent list programs and services for youth. Economic development, on the other hand, ranks as a high or very high priority by 63 percent.
Asked if the results are surprising, County Commissioner Elizabeth Stefanics says, “It was, but I’ll tell you something that was very surprising to me, and that’s ‘improving public education’ as a county priority. Education has very little to do with the county. It shows how many residents don’t know what the county can do or does do.”