With a mandate to deliver quality public services to all citizens, the Scott County Office of Public Affairs set out to identify the current and future needs of its 115,000 residents. However, understanding the diverse needs of 50,000 households the Twin Cities metropolitan area proved to be a challenge for this Minnesota public service agency. As a result, Scott County turned to Inquisite Inc.'s Web survey technology, as a way to cost effectively deploy its 2025 Comprehensive Plan survey.

The goal of the 2025 Comprehensive Plan survey was to understand how the county's various government groups could work together for greater efficiency, and to ascertain what services interested the community, according to Brian Hanninen, Scott County's Office of Public Affairs' management analyst.

"The expansive geographic nature of Scott County creates certain challenges for our office, as the needs of our city dwellers are vastly different from those of our rural residents," said Hanninen, who began using Inquisite in 2002 as a way to quickly and easily capture valuable constituent feedback. "By leveraging Inquisite for the 2025 Comprehensive Plan survey, we were able to poll our populace to determine everything from how our current land owners are using their land today and what they plan to do with it in the future; to what recreational programs our rural communities would like to see implemented; and to identify any specific environmental concerns."

Inquisite was the ideal choice for this sizeable forty-nine question survey largely because of its inherent ability to identify which resident had completed the survey and which needed to be sent a prompt. By utilizing Inquisite's automatic reminder capabilities, Scott County Office of Public Affairs was able to significantly increase its response rates while reducing the amount of time the survey needed to remain active.

Another key benefit of the Inquisite solution was its ability to perform sophisticated cross tabulation functions. Leveraging this feature, Scott County sliced and diced data to see how respondents answered specific questions. For instance, Scott County was able to identify specific geographic trends and determine how people from the rural townships responded versus those that reside in more populated cities.

"Inquisite's statistical reporting capabilities are a huge benefit for us, as it is enabled us to recognize the unique needs of our residents. This is particularly true for our rural population who rely on Scott County to provide some of their basic municipal services," said Hanninen. "Looking 19 years into the future can be a daunting effort, but the staff at Scott County Office of Public Affairs realized that the right technology would help to accomplish our goal. Using Inquisite, we can truly hear the voice of the people and hopefully implement changes that will make Scott County an even stronger community in 2025."

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