THE VALLEY FORGE PROJECT
(A Division of the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, In.)

2000 TOWNSHIP OFFICIALS SURVEY

 

SECTION I:   General

1.) What is the population of your township?

91%    Under 10,000
1%      10-20,000
1%      20-30,000
1%      30-40,000
0%      40-50,000
1%      50,000 Plus
5%      No Answer

2.) How many square miles in your township?

11%    Under 10
28%    10-20
24%    20-30
18%    30-40
16%    50-100
3%      100 Plus

3.) What was the range of your township=s fiscal 1999 general fund budget?

74%    Under $1 million
24%    $1-5 million
1%      $5-10 million
1%      Over 10 million

4.) How long have you served as a township official?

27%    Less than 4 years
25%    More than 4 years
48%    8 years or more

5.) To what political party do you belong?

31%    Democrat
68%    Republican
1%      Independent

6.) In what county is your township located?

 See Chart

7.) What is the range of your earnings per year as a township official?

64%    Less than $2,500
18%    $2,500-$5,000
6%      $5,000-10,000
12%    Over $10,000

 
SECTION II   Growth & Development

1.) What is the biggest problem facing your township?

31%    Low commercial tax base
12%    Aging infrastructure
2%      Affordable housing
1%      Medical facilities
25%    Sprawl
6%      Unemployment
23%    Other

2.) How would you describe your township?

83%    Predominantly rural
16%    Predominantly residential
1%      Predominantly commercial

3.) During your term as a township official how would you describe growth in BUSINESS?

3%      Decline in growth
20%    No change
51%    A little growth
26%    Much growth

4.) If your township experienced growth during your term in office how would you describe your township=s efforts to maintain adequate township services to residents?

34%    Excellent
63%    Good
3%      Poor

5.) If your township experienced growth during your term in office what would you say is the biggest problem associated with that growth?

39%    Traffic
1%      Crime

3%      Flooding
45%    Sewage
12%    Other

6.) Is open space preservation a high priority in your township?

53%    Yes
30%    No
17%    No Opinion

7.) Is bringing new business and creating new jobs a high priority in your township?

42%    Yes
42%    No
16%    No Opinion

8.) If bringing new business to your township is a high priority what type of business would you like to see develop?

43%    Manufacturing
10%    Retail
7%      Tourism
31%    Service & Technology
9%      Other

9.) Is development of new residential housing a high priority for your township government?

21%    Yes
65%    No
14%    No Opinion

10.) Is development of new affordable housing a high priority for your township government?

17%    Yes
67%    No
16%    No Opinion


SECTION III:             Inter-Municipal Agreements

1.) Does your township have any inter-municipal agreements or inter-municipal authorities?

59%    Yes
37%    No
4%      No Opinion

2.) Do you favor your township entering into inter-municipal agreements?

65%    Yes
17%    No
18%    No Opinion

3.) If you favor inter-municipal agreements for you township which type do you think would be most beneficial?

21%    Police
31%    Sewer
20%    Planning & Zoning
21%    Highway
  7%    Other


S
ECTION IV:            Planning and Zoning


1.) The General Assembly has given school districts some options for local property tax reform.  As a township official, would you like to have similar options to lower property taxes?

64%    Yes
17%    No
19%    No opinion

2.) If Harrisburg (the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) were to enact legislation to give townships the ability to implement or raise other taxes to lower property taxes, which would be your highest priority to impose or raise?

64%    Earned income tax
23%    Sales tax
5%      Mercantile tax
8%      Business privilege tax

3.) In December 1999 Governor Tom Ridge signed Growing Greener, a $645 million initiative to fund open space preservation in Pennsylvania.  Will this initiative be used in your township?

29%    Yes
18%    No
53%    Unsure

4.) How would you rank open space preservation in your township?

40%    Very important
44%    Somewhat important
13%    Somewhat unimportant
3%      Very unimportant

5.) Does your township have a comprehensive plan?

61%    Yes
33%    No
6%      No Opinion

5a.) If YES, is it managed by the county or by your township?

15%    County
85%    Township

5b.) If YES, how old is your comprehensive plan?

39%    0-5 years
30%    5-10 years
31%    Over 10 years

6.) Do you believe that your township=s zoning ordinances are adequate and up-to-date?

48%    Yes
37%    No
15%    No Opinion

7.) What percentage of your township=s land mass would you estimate is developed, both residential and commercial?

45%    0-20%
37%    20-40%
13%    40-60%
5%      Over 60%

8.) Do you favor or oppose County government taking control of land use planning and zoning in your township?

10%    Favor
79%    Oppose
11%    No Opinion

9.) IF the state government were willing to fund only one of the following projects in your township which one would be your highest priority?  (Please choose only one.)

8%      Increased subsidies to farmers
40%    Improve township roads
1%      Improve township libraries
16%    Improve wastewater disposal capacity
5%      Improve emergency fire and rescue services
2%      Improve police department 
3%      Improve township maintenance department
2%      Improve public transportation
1%      Improve affordable housing stock in the township
11%    Preserve open space
5%      Improve parks and recreation
6%      Other

10.) During your term in office has the township budget increased, decreased or stayed about the same?

59%    Increased
2%      Decreased
39%    Stayed about the same

11.) During your term in office has the township tax bill to residents increased, decreased or stayed about the same?

23%    Increased
7%      Decreased
70%    Stayed about the same

12.) During your term in office has the township tax bill to businesses increased, decreased, or stayed about the same?

14%    Increased
5%      Decreased
81%    Stayed about the same

 

METHODOLOGY: The Valley Forge Project’s 2000 Township Officials’ Survey was mailed to a random sample of 5,000 township supervisors and commissioners on March 3, 2000.  A total of 1,015 township officials returned their questionnaire by the March 20, 2000 tabulation deadline.