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Survey Allows Residents to Submit Questions to Cville Govt - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Survey Allows Residents to Submit Questions to Cville Government

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From traffic issues, to noise violations there are many questions people have for their city government - but finding the right person to ask about those concerns can be a hassle.

The city of Charlottesville has a simple online form that makes it easy to get answers.

Through a Freedom of Information request, NBC29 now has access to years worth of questions the people of Charlottesville have asked the city. The form is available through the city of Charlottesville Website.

"It's always there if people have things they want to communicate with the city," said Miriam Dickler, the director of communications for Charlottesville.

All of the responses go to the city manager's office and are then forwarded to the particular department that can most adequately address the concern.

Since 2010 there have been 27 submissions through the online form to the city, including six people from 2012. 

Only one person has utilized the online form in 2013 thus far. That person wrote in about a faulty meter. "I'm concerned that I will get a ticket by no fault of my own," the person wrote on January 22, 2013.

People have written in about a variety of issues, from requests for financial assistance, to questions about how to start a petition.

In December a woman wrote in to ask how the University of Virginia is allowed to have midweek evening football games, even though, according to her, it disturbs hundreds if not thousands of people "with blaring music and obnoxious yelling of the announcer." "I ask the council to ban all such events as it is an absurd afront to all the citizens within earshot of the stadium," she said.

A request for action also came from a man who wrote in on August 29, 2011 to ask why there was not a volunteer rescue squad in Charlottesville. "When time is of the essence I'm not sure people in dire need are really concerned whether a responder is paid or not. Response time is what they're concerned about," he wrote. He said he brought the idea of a volunteer squad to council members who responded that a "turf war" prevented that from being considered.
"How can first responders put their own egos ahead of the public good?" he asked.

Other people used the online survey to complain of unfair treatment by the Charlottesville police, and of potential door-to-door scams of the elderly. But the majority of questions were about traffic and parking tickets.

A man who lived on 10th Street in NW Charlottesville said that people often speed in his neighborhood. "My question to you, or plead rather, is some sort of traffic calming," he wrote.

Dickler said concerns about traffic and parking are common inquiries people have for most city governments.

"It's really anything. It's anything that people are really concerned about. We hear more in any correspondence with the community about whatever the big issue of the moment is, and so when people have a concern or there's something that's going on, we hear the most about that," said Dickler. "But that doesn't mean that if someone has a concern that isn't the hot topic of the moment that they shouldn't share it with us," she said.

You can also send a message to all of city council by emailing council@charlottesville.org. Click here if you'd like to access the online survey.

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