- By Jen Aceto -
Communities from around Iowa partner with Polco to understand COVID-19 impacts on local residents.
Local governments are engaging with residents online more than ever before. Many city council meetings are now virtual due to COVID-19, and opportunities for in-person interaction are more limited. In response, local governments are getting creative and finding new ways to engage with their residents.
The Iowa League of Cities has partnered with Polco to create a custom survey which will help the League’s member communities gather data from their residents. The survey asks questions that will allow local governments to better understand Iowa residents’ behaviors, information needs, and concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Elected officials and government staff are facing tough decisions related to COVID-19 response and recovery,” said Michelle Kobayashi, Polco’s Senior Vice President of Innovation. “The survey will provide local government leaders crucial information on the issues most important to residents to help focus planning recovery strategies.”
Iowa League of Cities members publish the survey from a free Polco profile, and community members respond. Community leaders will use the input to inform their COVID-19 response. The League also plans to aggregate the feedback to gain a better understanding of how the pandemic affects residents statewide.
This partnership between Polco and the Iowa League of Cities gives residents a way to make their voices heard and allows local governments to get the input they need to make decisions. The survey is now free on Polco for any Iowa community to use.
Local governments will use the survey responses not only to shape internal policy, but also to partner with the community to bring results to life. The survey asks residents about issues such as their knowledge of COVID-19, availability of testing, information sources, economic impacts, access to technology, and mental health. Respondents also rate the response of local, state, and federal government entities.
"COVID-19 has challenged local governments to learn to serve their citizens from a safe distance,” said Alan Kemp, executive director for the Iowa League of Cities “However, effective engagement remains critical. [Polco] allows cities to gather feedback from their residents through timely and targeted responses that can ensure city officials make the most informed decisions they can."
“We encourage residents to participate in surveys published by communities across Iowa,” Kobayashi said. “The more data we can collect, the better local government leaders will be able to respond and adapt to residents’ needs.”
Local governments can conduct the Resident COVID-19 Response Survey of their own residents for free. Learn more.