How did we determine what the
community deems important?
We wanted to know what the residents of Tuolumne County deem to be the most important issues facing them. Furthermore, we wanted to involve them in prioritizing those issues and the other aspects of Tuolumne County life that are important to their well-being and sense of community. To accomplish this, in February 2005, we hired a professional research firm (Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates, Santa Monica and Oakland, CA) to conduct a statistically significant survey of our community. The firm determined that a random telephone call survey of 400 Tuolumne County households would be the best way to ask our community what was important about living in the county. (Copies of the survey report are available in printed form and on compact disk (CD) from the Sonora Area Foundation. They are also available for viewing at all County Libraries and on the website listed below).
What did the phone survey tell us?
Overall, the survey results show that Tuolumne County residents are extremely pleased with conditions in the county. Fully 87 percent of those polled rate the county as an "excellent" or "good" place to live. And while there are a number of issues that residents consider problems in the county (between 10 and 20 percent each cite too much growth and development, too few career ladder jobs, too much traffic, and mounting housing costs), none seems to represent a dominant, consensus concern for local residents.
However, residents clearly considered some aspects of the local quality of life to be relatively more important than others; in general, items related to public health and safety—and to a somewhat lesser extent, education and culture—rose to the top of the list. The survey also identified natural resource, recreation, and economic issues that our residents consider important. We used the survey results to ensure that the selection of community indicators reflects the issues local residents view as most important.