County Judge Ron Daniell and Arkadelphia City Manager Jimmy Bolt aren’t sure what to do, they said, about the results of a county-wide survey done as part of the Clark County Strategic Development Plan committee.
The survey, conducted online by Taimerica, a consulting company hired to facilitate the planning process, showed respondents felt there were “no strengths” in local government and leadership.
A large percentage of the respondents cited problems with various areas of government and leaders, such as the lack of long-range planning for improvements and capital budgeting, planning and zoning and availability of information online.
Daniell said the survey was not clear, either to those participating in the survey or those reading the results.
“We don’t know if (the respondents) were talking about county or city government,” he said.
Bolt expressed similar opinions.
“It’s not a scientific study,” he said. The respondents were sorted by zip code only. The Arkadelphia zip code, 71923, is used in a large portion of the county. “Caddo Valley’s zip code is the same as ours.”
But Caddo Valley has its own city government and services, so those answers should be separated from the responses from Arkadelphia residents, he said.
Daniell said the survey does not specify which answers came from residents of rural Clark County or from which town in the county. “We don’t know how the numbers would be different” if the results were analyzed in a different way.
The survey is also flawed because is that it does not specify specific services. “I don’t know what concerns them,” Daniell said. Bolt agreed.
The results of the survey indicated that residents were happy with basic services provided by government, including police and fire protection, streets and utilities. “That is the mission of local government,” Bolt said. “Anything more is extra.
“We’re struggling to build on some of this,” but more information is needed.
“We’re working to bring about change, but all we have now are comments, not suggestions,” Bolt said.
Daniell suggests residents of the county speak directly to their leaders about their problems and concerns. “I hope they’ll call and tell us what to do differently,” he said.
Bolt also urged citizens to make their concerns known. “I don’t mind hearing what I don’t like,” he said.
Daniell and Bolt feel that despite its flaws, the survey could be good for the county.
Daniell said the county would continue to provide the best services possible and continue to support the CCSP.
“I don’t want to lessen that effort,” Bolt said. “The (Strategic Planning) process is a good one.”