ST. ALBANS TOWN – The residents of St. Albans Town would be comfortable paying a stormwater utility fee, are undecided on the fate of their town hall and overwhelmingly support more bike and pedestrian paths.

These were some of the key results of a University of Vermont (UVM) assisted survey mailed to town voters and business owners last year. Results from that survey were presented to town officials last month and displayed publicly during a routine meeting of the selectboard.

According to researchers from UVM’s Center for Rural Studies, while some results were inconclusive and while the survey was overwhelmingly returned by the town’s older population, researchers were able to map a few distinct trends among respondents:

  • – Around 57 percent of returned surveys supported a stormwater utility that would cost the average household somewhere between $34 and $75 annually.
  • – Residents were almost wholly undecided when it came to plans for St. Albans Town Hall, a 120-year-old building town officials say no longer meets the needs of the town’s government. The survey’s respondents were split between renovating the current town hall or building a new town hall in another location.
  • – Respondents overwhelmingly supported investing in recreation paths and in the town’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure plan.
  • – Clear trends for the town’s role in the development of affordable housing were hard to notice, though support for affordable housing appeared to be the strongest among younger and older respondents.

The survey was written with demographics in mind, allowing researchers to organize responses along the lines of age or education levels. According to those researchers, the majority of respondents were college-educated adults and older than 55, par for the course for mail-in surveys. “This is the trend with mail surveys,” said UVM’s Amy Kelsey. “Our results are less representative of younger folks and more representative of older folks.”

Only 3 percent of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 24, something that Kelsey warned was unrepresentative of the town’s demographics.

 

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