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How are we doing?’ city officials want to know

[7/17/03]Concerned about being on track midway through their administration, the City of Vicksburg’s three elected officials are having residents surveyed door-to-door.

“We always hear from the extremes,” said Mayor Laurence Leyens. “And what we want to hear from is the silent majority.”

Starting this week, youth workers for the city are knocking on doors throughout the city and asking people to answer three survey questions:

Name one or more things that this administration has done or is doing that you support and think is being done well.

Name one or more things that you are disappointed that this administration has not done.

Name one or more specific things that you would like to see done on your street or in your neighborhood that would make a difference.

The workers, teens employed by the city for the summer, will hit about 2,500 homes by the end of next week, said Lamar Horton, director of human resources. Horton said they are trying to get a cross-section of the community.

The surveys will be done between 8 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday the rest of this week and next. Horton said the results of the survey should be compiled around mid-August.

Safety concerns were also addressed with the teens during a training session before they began doing the survey. The workers were instructed on how to talk to people, to watch out for dogs and not to enter anyone’s home.

“We’ve got them in teams, and they’re all working within a short radius of the supervisor,” Horton said.

The current city administration took office two years ago this month and has undertaken several large projects, including downtown urban renewal, a $17.5 million bond issue and new garbage rules. Last year, the city also expanded the summer youth program to hire more people and take on bigger projects.

About 105 teens are working with the city this summer in a variety of jobs including cutting grass, picking up trash and working in City Hall.