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Commissioners hold first telephone town hall

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More than 2,000 participate

By Vicky Gits

The Jeffco commissioners held a virtual town hall meeting Sept. 25 from the comfort of a fifth-floor conference room in the County Administration and Courts Facility.

The mass conference call lasted from 7 to 8 p.m., and the commissioners fielded 26 questions.

It was the first time the county commissioners held such a meeting, although the C-470 Corridor Coalition conducted a similar exercise July 31 through Aug. 2.

According to the performance summary by the facilitator, CRL Associates, the telephone town hall hosted 1,709 at its peak. Ninety attendees entered the call-in queue, 70 were screened and 26 went live.

Most of the callers (2,500) stayed on the phone for two to five minutes. About 900 stayed for five to 20 minutes. The rest participated for 20 to 59 minutes.

The numbers looked good compared to holding physical open houses, which last year attracted a total of 135 participants on three dates.

During the program, the moderator asked three polling questions:

• Given the tough economic times we’re experiencing and the growing demand for services, how would you rate the value of the services you receive for the taxes paid to Jefferson County?

Answers:excellent, 19 percent; good, 47 percent; fair, 23 percent; poor, 11 percent. Total voting: 209

• How do you feel about the overall direction that Jefferson County is taking?

Answers:excellent, 13 percent; good, 46 percent; fair, 34 percent; poor, 7 percent. Total voting: 175

• Did you find tonight’s telephone town hall meeting valuable?

Answers:Very valuable, 55 percent; somewhat valuable, 41 percent; not valuable, 5 percent. Total voting: 190.

The purpose of the town hall was to gather information on what services are most important to residents as commissioners contemplate the final details of the 2013 budget.

Calls went out to 50,000 randomly selected phone numbers. Individuals were also invited to call in to the conference call using a provided number. 

For an audio recording of the proceedings, visit www.jeffco.us/townhall.htm.

Questions addressed paving gravel roads, keeping libraries open, conflict between bicyclists and hikers on open space, West Quincy Avenue construction, why sprinklers turn on when it’s raining, speed bumps and what happened to state money for victims of the Lower North Fork Fire, among other things.

Contact Vicky Gits at vicky@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, or follow her at Twitter.com/newsbyvicky.