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By LYDIA POLGREEN, Staff writer
First published in Albany Times Union: Friday, May 4, 2001
Opinions sought on Albany life

Albany -- Neighborhood leaders to survey city residents on top concerns

The Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations wants to know what you think of life in the city. The organization will be distributing more than 30,000 surveys asking 75 questions about neighborhood issues, like crime, code enforcement, street repairs and parking and whether residents think the city is doing a good job in dealing with those issues.

"There is a very strong, almost silent majority of residents,'' said David Phaff, president of the New Albany Neighborhood Association. "This is one way for them to express their concerns without waiting for an election every four years.''

Last year about 26,000 surveys were distributed, and CANA got 1,400 replies, according to Phaff. The top concern found in last year's survey was residential property maintenance, he said.

This year the survey has been redesigned to make it more scientific, Phaff said, by allowing respondents to rank their feelings on a scale of zero to four.

Survey forms will be available at Stewart's Shops around the city, at the five branches of the Albany Public Library and at the Historic Albany Foundation. They also will be distributed by neighborhood associations and in Albany editions of Monday's Times Union. The form is also available on CANA's Web site at http://members.tripod.com/CAlbanyNA/.

After they are compiled and analyzed, the survey results will be shared with city leaders to help inform policies, said Harold Rubin, past president of CANA.

"If you are concerned about the quality of life in Albany, this is your chance to make your views known,'' Rubin said.

TOP IN 2000:

Of approximately 40 issues listed in last year's survey, these 13 drew a response rate of at least 20 percent. Following is their ranking with the top issue cited by 40 percent of the residents who responded.

1. Residential property maintenance

2. Drug dealers/drug houses

3. Winter sidewalk shoveling

4. Noise from loud car radios, parties

5. Garbage in streets and yards

6. Sidewalk and street repair

7. Overall city cleanliness

8. Animal droppings not being picked up by owners

9. Public schools and education

10. Abandoned buildings

11. Boarded-up buildings

12. Garbage rules not followed

13. Parking rules and enforcement

Source: Council of Albany Neighborhoods