Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 08/18/2016  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon approval and award of bid on the 2016 Residential Survey for The Woodlands Township;
FISCAL IMPACT:
The Woodlands Township has $30,000 budgeted for Public Opinion Surveys in the Community Relations budget. As stated in the 2016 budget narrative, this line item is used to gauge public opinion of The Woodlands Township and its programs. This research includes public opinions about development in The Woodlands, public safety, wayfinding systems, transportation, shopping, dining and other related aspects, specifically geared to services and programs of The Woodlands Township.        

PROPOSALS:

The Woodlands Township traditionally conducts a survey of The Woodlands residents approximately every two years for purposes of obtaining resident opinions of services and for use as a budgeting and planning tool. Survey results are published on The Woodlands Township website. Results are tentatively scheduled to be presented to the Board at the December board meeting. 

Proposals were received from eight companies: Creative Consumer Research (CCR) of Stafford, Texas; Kent State University (KSU) of Kent, Ohio; Public Research Group (PRG) of Naperville, IL; NewGen Strategies & Solutions (NGSS) of Lakewood, CO; Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center (WSAC) of Laramie, WY; Lexicon & Lin (LL) of Ogden, UT; ETC Institute (ETC) of Olathe, KS; and National Research Center (NRF) of Boulder, CO. A brief overview and complete copies of the eight proposals are attached for further information. 

EVALUATION:

Each proposal was reviewed and scored by Township staff on each of the criteria listed in the selection process of the RFP, including prior experience, references, methodology and the firm’s capability to meet the scope of work. Proposed sample size and pricing were also taken into consideration. 

Proposals were scored and weighted to create the summary of the scores that appears below. Based on the final weighted average scores, National Research Center and ETC Institute scored the highest in meeting the criteria to conduct the resident survey. 

Summary of RFP Scores:

 
Criteria CCR KSU PRG NGSS WSAC LL ETC NRC
Capability to meet the scope of work (25%). 15 13 15 14 13 8 15 15
Methodology for conducting the survey (25%). 11 8 11 8 13 9 13 14
Proposed project cost (25%). 6 11 11 11 10 9 12 11
Experience of the company and individual members of the company’s professional staff in performing similar services (15%). 12 8 13 10 10 7 15 15
Responses from the company’s references (10%). 12 8 13 8 11 5 13 15
Total Score 56 48 63 51 57 38 68 70
Weighted Average 11 10 12.5 10.55 11.6 8.05 13.55 13.75


National Research Center and ETC Institute both highlighted significant experience with developing and administering citizen surveys for other communities. Both firms offered bilingual capabilities to ensure that the Spanish-speaking population is well represented in survey finding. The main difference between the two proposals was the methodology for conducting the survey.

National Research Institute provided an in-depth analysis to support their proposal to administer surveys primarily by mail with an online response option. National Research Center listed several explanations for the decision to not conduct telephone interviews as part of the data collection:
  • Cord-cutters, those who have abandoned land lines in favor of cellular phones, tend to represent a demographic that is particularly hard to reach – the student or young working population.
  • Response rates by phone are significantly lower than those by mail. Industry findings report that the response rate of a typical telephone survey was 36% in 1997 and is just 9% today.
  • Combining phone and mail responses is inappropriate due to differences in respondent candor with the two methods. Genuine resident perspective about local government services comes reliably when residents have the time and privacy to reflect on citizen survey questions and then to respond anonymously without worry that in interviewer may take offense.
  • Mailed surveys which utilize a United States Postal Service (USPS) address list provide the best representation of all households in a specific geographic location.
  • Mailed surveys, when compared to phone surveys, maximize the amount of data that can be collected because the cost per completed mail survey is close to half the cost of a properly completed phone survey.
On the other hand, ETC Institute offered the combination of mail, phone and Internet to maximize the overall level of response to ensure diverse populations are well represented. ETC states that even if people do not respond by mail, people who received the mailed version are significantly more likely to response to the survey by phone or online because they know the survey is legitimate.

Given the above analysis, Community Relations staff recommends the selection of ETC Institute to perform the 2016 Residential Survey for The Woodlands Township based on the price difference of collecting 600 surveys.
BACKGROUND:
In preparation for the 2016 survey, staff reviewed and updated the questionnaire to include most of the same questions as the previous survey. This has several benefits: to allow trending of the information by maintaining the same questions, to speed the process of getting survey results because it will eliminate time spent in approving and testing new questions, and it eliminates costs related to developing and testing new questions. New questions related to mobility and transportation were added in 2014 since this became a new responsibility of the Township. 

The Woodlands Township Board of Directors reviewed the survey instrument as described above at their meeting on April 21, 2016, and reviewed received proposals at the April 27, 2016, meeting. Following discussion at the April 27, 2016, meeting, it was determined that an RFP should be reissued following survey revisions to be recommended by a Township created Task Force. 

The Task Force met on May 25, 2016 and reviewed and revised the document. On July 22, 2016, the Board approved the release of the revised Request for Proposals (RFP) and survey instrument with submitted proposals to be brought to the Board for approval and selection in August. 

According to the specified schedule, The Woodlands Township expects to make the bid selection in August 2016. The survey should be conducted and tabulated in the fall with survey results presented to The Woodlands Township Board of Directors at their regularly scheduled board meeting in December 2016.
RECOMMENDATION:
Approve ETC Institute to conduct The Woodlands Township's 2016 Resident Survey to be completed in calendar year 2016 at a cost not to exceed $25,000.
Attachments
Residential Survey RFP Overview
Residential Survey RFP Pricing Summary


    

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