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CANA
Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

The narrative is shown below in HTML.  However, you can get this information as either PDF or a Word 
document.

 

CEQL Survey Overview

 

What prompted survey?

Many of us have made a significant commitment to living in the City of Albany. Some of us have had opportunities and choices as to whether we live in the Capital District, Albany or elsewhere. We have elected to live within the City of Albany because of its quality of life, the cultural and property values, the convenience of nearby shopping, a good public transportation infrastructure and so much more. We want living within the City of Albany to be the best there is and have grown concerned that perhaps our complaints, while not as severe as in other municipalities, were not being heard by the various city departments. We also wondered if other people around the city felt as we did.

Our intention was to come up with a device to gauge where everyone’s concerns lie and to what extent they may differ from one part of the city to another. It also would establish a benchmark against which any future progress can be measured.

How was it designed?

The survey was developed through the efforts of the Code Enforcement and Quality of Life Committee (CEQL) which represents the Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations (CANA). Committee members reflected a broad cross section of the community. Members of the committee include:

Joan Byalin Dominick Calsoloro

Pat Hancox Andrew Harvey

Bruce Hungershafer Colin McNight

Harold Rubin Marggie Skinner

Elfreda Textores Craig Waltz

David Phaff, Chairperson

The CEQL Committee attempted to identify issues of concern that affected or influenced quality of life issues. The methodology was simple. 1) List every possible issue, 2) Merge overlapping issues, 3) Group issues according to a loosely defined set of types and keep it to one side of an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper.

While the committee reached a consensus, we realize that it was not possible to mention every single issue.

 

 

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

This survey would not have been so successful without the support of a number of individuals and organizations. The following are to be commended for their efforts.

bulletThe Mayor’s Office, City of Albany

For their valued input towards the concept of the survey.

bulletThe Albany Times Union

For the printing and distribution of the surveys

bulletStewart’s Shops

For allowing collection boxes in Albany stores

bulletAlbany Public Library

For allowing collection boxes in the main library and its branches

bulletAlbany City Schools and the Citywide Albany PTO

For cooperating on the distribution and collection of surveys to the elementary school grades.

bulletSUNYA – Institutional Research

For assistance in preparing the data

 

What we were expecting?

Valid sampling –

It was hoped that we would receive sufficient responses as to represent a valid statistical sampling for the community at large as well as the individual neighborhoods. While not every neighborhood was represented, most that were represented were statistically acceptable.

Tenant community

Of all dwelling units within the City of Albany, including single family, two family or multiple family dwellings, most units are occupied by tenants and it was hoped that this community at large would be well represented in the survey. Unfortunately, the tenant community was not as well represented as we would have liked.

Barometer or report card

If nothing else, this survey gives us a starting point to which future surveys can be compared. In reality, the results have indicated the valid concerns that appear across the city as well as some neighborhood-specific issues.

Resulting Action

It is hoped that with the data as it exists, the City of Albany will attempt to focus on some of these issues by working with the various neighborhood associations. For those individuals or organizations qualified to further analyze the data, we look forward to their insight and guidance in identifying the myriad of issues, seeking viable solutions to the issues and coming up with a more effective survey in the next year.

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

Details Relating to Survey:

bulletThere were two versions of the survey. Version I, shorter, less specific and lacking demographic questions, was distributed through several neighborhood associations. Version II, a more comprehensive survey including demographic questions, was distributed through the efforts of Albany Times Union in conjunction with Stewart’s Shops, The Albany Public Library System and the Albany City School District and Citywide Parents Teachers Organization. The results of Version I were converted to Version II’s format.
bulletDistribution

The Albany Times Union printed 26,000 surveys that were distributed as follows:

6,000 to elementary schools

Boxes of 80 to:

5 Albany Public Library & branches

9 Stewarts Shops

Balance distributed in Saturday edition of newspaper

bulletThere was no public relations or advertising effort made in conjunction with the survey.
bulletThe survey yielded over 1300 responses or five percent.

More than half were "qualified", which meant they included the required demographic detail and checked off no more than twelve "issues".

Most returns were mailed in. The majority came from the newspaper insert, followed by those from the Stewart’s Shops and the Albany Public Library and its branches. We found that from all the elementary schools combined, we received a very small response. This poor showing was attributable to timing of the survey so late in the school year as well as inadequate promotion and participation with the teachers.

 

Overall Survey Results

In an attempt to maintain data integrity, preliminary comparisons of the issues selected were made of the "qualified" versus "unqualified" responses to ascertain whether either group showed a significant statistical difference in their choices. It was found that the difference between each group for identical issues was within five percent. This provided us with some degree of assurance that even though one group failed to provide demographics or may have checked off too many issues, their concerns were pretty much in line with the "qualified" group.

In considering the effort to compile and analyze this data please keep the following in mind:

bulletNot all respondents answered each question or selected the requested "five most significant issues". One common complaint was that we were limiting participants to only five choices when some people felt they should have the option of checking off more than five issues.
bulletSome people invented names for neighborhood associations that did not exist. This made them difficult to attribute to a particular area.
bulletA few individuals attempted to submit more than 10 identical or very similar surveys, presuming that no one (sane) person would ever be apt to review each and every survey. They were wrong. One person did. Only one survey was allowed where conspicuous abuse was determined. The extras were not allowed.

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

 

bulletThe original intent was to tie each survey with its address reference to a particular neighborhood. This was only modestly successful, with about half of the respondents providing such information. We recognize that in areas such as Pine Hills, the neighborhood is so large that using it as a locator may be ineffective. Consideration was given towards using city wards as locators but there was insufficient time and resources to convert the data.
bulletSome results will not total 100% or may conflict depending how forms were filled out.
bulletFortunately, none of the surveys were postmarked from Palm Beach County, although a few were illegible and there were three rejected ballots from the Town of Colonie.

DEMOGRAPHIC DATA - in identified neighborhoods

Male 208

Female 387

Undetermined 182

 

Age Distribution Chart

Own/Rent

Of identified surveys, most respondents indicated that they (or presumably a family member/partner) owned the dwelling that they lived in by a 5:1 ratio. We recognize that this is not indicative of the Albany population at large and it reinforces the need to reach out to the tenant community to assure adequate representation.

Some of the tallies per neighborhood were:

Own Rent

Pine Hills 93 25

Beverwyck 19 2

New Scotland/Whitehall 53 2

Arbor Hill 4 7

Delaware 63 13

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

 

Neighborhoods Represented

The number of neighborhoods represented totaled twenty-nine. Of the total, twenty (in Bold Type) were considered statistically acceptable and six were considered marginal.

NEIGHBORHOOD

RESPONSES

STATISTICALLY

IDENTIFIED

ACCEPTABLE

Arbor Hill

14

Yes

Beverwyck

21

Yes

Buckingham/Crestwood

42

Yes

Campus

5

?

Center Square

32

Yes

Delaware

84

Yes

Dunes

1

No

Helderberg

51

Yes

Hudson Park

22

Yes

Krank Park

6

?

Lincoln Park

3

?

Manning Blvd.

7

Yes

Mansion

19

Yes

Melrose

27

Yes

New Albany

23

Yes

New Scotland/Whitehall

58

Yes

Normanskill

6

Yes

North Albany/Shaker Park

15

Yes

Park South

33

Yes

Pastures

1

No

Pine Hills

120

Yes

Point of Woods

8

Yes

Second Ave.

41

Yes

Sheridan Hollow

8

?

South End

5

?

Upper Washington Ave.

41

Yes

Washington Park

18

Yes

West Hill

18

Yes

Westland Hills

8

?

 

 

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

 

Statistical Citywide Overview

General Issue Groups

There were six general issue group categories:

Family Issues

Social Issues

Environmental Issues

Health Issues

Buildings Issues

Enforcement Issues

While not indicative of specific concerns or the intensity of such concerns, the following charts indicate the average response rate towards each of these six categories on a neighborhood basis.

 

Top GENERAL issues by category across city

Family - Overview

bulletDrugs, unattended children were most significant issues
bulletIssues were predominant concern in neighborhoods considered lower income
bullet39% across city disparity between all neighborhoods

 

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

Social –

bulletPublic Schools, Walking police patrols, loitering
bulletMore even distribution across city and neighborhoods
bullet24% disparity – highest to lowest

Environmental

bulletNoise, lighting, illegal businesses, city cleanliness
bullet13% disparity, but do not be misled –
bulletsome of the top issues came from this group

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

Health

bulletGarbage issues, sidewalk shoveling, street repair, dogs
bullet25% disparity – Lower response level is the exception

Buildings

bulletBoarded up or abandoned buildings, Rental property maint., illegal parking lots
bullet20% disparity

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

Enforcement & penalty issues

bulletBuilding code, incentives for compliance, complaint resolution process, parking rules
bulletRemove nbhd w/ unacceptable sampling,
bulletResults all over the place.

 

Top issues throughout city

Of aprox 40 issues, 13 drew at least 20% response rate.

1. Residential Property maint - 40%

2. Drug dealers/Drug houses

3. Winter sidewalk shoveling

4. Noise from loud car radios, parties

5. Garbage in streets & yards

6. Sidewalk & street repair

7. Overall city cleanliness

8. Animal droppings not being picked up by owners

9. Public schools & education

10.Abandoned buildings

11.Boarded up buildings

12.Garbage rules not followed

13.Parking rules & enforcement

 

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

Top 3 Issues by Neighborhood – See APPENDIX I for charts, APPENDIX II for data

bulletArbor Hill Drugs, City Cleanliness, Public schools
bulletBeverwick Residential prop maintenance, Public schools, Noise
bulletBuckingham/Crestwood Schools, Sidewalk & street repair, Winter sidewalk shoveling
bulletCampus Public schools, 13 others each got 20%
bulletCenter Square Walking police patrols, Resid. prop maintenance, Noise
bulletDelaware Resid. prop maintenance, Noise, City cleanliness
bulletHelderberg Schools, Sidewalk shoveling, Dog droppings
bulletHudson Park Abandoned/boarded up bldgs, City cleanliness, Panhandlers
bulletKrank Park Drugs, Abandoned/boarded up bldgs, Garbage & Noise
bulletLincoln Park Noise, Drugs, City cleanliness
bulletManning Noise, Sidewalk/street repair, Drugs
bulletMansion Drugs, garbage, noise
bulletMelrose Resid. prop. Maint., Winter sidewalk shoveling, Dog droppings
bulletNew Albany Resid. prop. maintenance, Garbage, Building related issues, Noise
bulletNew Scotland/Whitehall Sidewalk & street repair, Drugs, Dog droppings, Winter shoveling
bulletNormanskill Dogs, Winter walks, City cleanliness, Lack of trees
bulletNorth Albany/Shaker Drugs, Dogs not under owner control, Resid. rental property maint.
bulletPark South Drugs, Buildings, Garbage
bulletPine Hills Resid. rental prop. maint., Noise, City cleanliness
bulletPoint of Woods Animal droppings, Sidewalk shoveling, Noise
bulletSecond Ave Noise, Residential rental prop. maint., Garbage
bulletSheridan Hollow 28 isses of 20% or higher!! Drugs, Unattended children, Buldings
bulletSouth End Drugs, Lack of incentives, Noise
bulletUpper Washington Sidewalk shoveling, Noise, Residential rental prop. maintenance
bulletWash Park Drugs, Resid. rental prop maintenance, Buildings, Master plan
bulletWest hill Drugs, Buildings, Sidewalk & street repair
bulletWestland Hills Sidewalk/Street repair, Drugs, Walking police ptrls, Dog droppings

Most Popular Write-in Complaints

bulletSpeeding police cars without emergency signals turned on
bulletVehicles ignoring traffic signals & posted speeds

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview (continued)

 

After reviewing this data and the basic conclusions we have arrived at, the questions remain:

bulletWhat of all this?
bulletWhat are the reasons benind these issues?
bulletWhat can be done to remedy some if not all of these?
bulletWho is supposed to do it?
bulletWhat is next?

 

 

This Is Not The Conclusion….

We have collected the data. It is statistically correct. It does require a more thorough analysis by qualified professionals. Some of the data can be used by individual neighborhoods to better focus their efforts if they were not already aware of their residents’ perceptions.

What is necessary at this time is action on the part of the city to digest the information and work with each neighborhood in coming up with a plan to resolve many of their issues. This is not all going to happen at once. It will be one or two issues at a time. It is a joint effort that requires rethinking some of our priorities and an increased level of cooperation among all parties.

We are certain that the city has the expertise and capability to improve upon this rating by its citizens such that next year, when we perform the sequel to this survey, we will all be proud of our accomplishments.

 

CANA ~ Code Enforcement & Quality of Life Committee

 

CEQL Survey Overview

 

 

APPENDICIES

I NEIGHBORHOOD ISSUES – CHARTS

II NEIGHBORHOOD ISSUES – DATA

III CITY WIDE CHART & DATA

IV DATA MATRIX

V CEQL Questionnaire # 1

VI CEQL Questionnaire #2