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City of Idaho Falls wants your input on housing, education and other topics in new online survey

Idaho Falls

IDAHO FALLS – If you live in Bonneville County, city officials in Idaho Falls are asking for your feedback in a new online survey.

The survey comes from The Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee and asks for residents’ input on a number of topics ranging from public health and education to housing and access to medical and mental health care.

“It’s a tool to help us gather data … (and) get ideas for improvement, to gauge where we’re at as a community and what the public sentiment is and then help the committee make recommendations to the (city) council for positive growth and change,” City spokesman Bud Cranor tells EastIdahoNews.com.

The survey also seeks people’s feedback about the quality of life and proposed policy ideas, how sentiments align or differ between residents based on age, race, color, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, and gender expression/identity. It invites Idaho Falls residents to submit ideas and recommendations for further study.

The Idaho Falls City Council approved the formation of the CUSP committee in July 2019, the umbrella organization for eight different subcommittees, including the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee. The other subcommittees include Education, Sustainability, Public and Personal Safety, Community and Enrichment, Healthcare and Public Health, Housing and Transportation and Economic and Business Climate.

“There’s a lot of stuff (in those categories) that the city doesn’t do,” Cranor says. “We have involvement with them, but we don’t have the responsibility for it. This is something we wanted to look at for the entire community. It’s creating a road map for the future.”

Each group has been busy over the last 18 months gathering information on different subjects from public officials and community members locally and in other cities.

Toni L. Carter, Chairwoman of the Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee says her team analyzed 16 cities who launched citizen-driven inclusion initiatives. They also built an interactive dashboard to examine quantitative data about Idaho Falls and got a lot of ideas from members of the community.

Carter and her team began meeting monthly last February. She says this survey is the final step in the data collection phase.

“We have 10 or 12 people on our committee. We didn’t feel comfortable making recommendations to the city without hearing directly from the people,” Carter says. “Idaho Falls is a beautiful city and we have lots of great things going for us, but we suspect that those things we do very well will shine and we will share that with the city also.”

A data analytics team will review the information submitted by residents. Carter and her committee will make final recommendations to the CUSP committee in March before submitting it to the city council.

“Our goal is to provide data-driven recommendations to the city which will highlight policy areas where large segments of the community agree and which specific policy solutions have widespread support,” says Carter. “Where disagreements exist, it will provide insight into what’s driving those disagreements. Then we can start to develop an inclusive approach to mutually beneficial policy-making.”

Carter says this is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to let your voice be heard and she’s encouraging you to respond.

“It’s important that our voices are heard so they (the city council) can make decisions that are in the best interests of all of us to keep our community growing in a positive way,” Carter says.

The survey is open through Feb. 13. About 650 responses have been submitted so far, as of Jan. 21. To take the survey or learn more, click here.

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