survey indicates change desired at city hall
Two-sided in nature, feedback pertains to both
those giving it and receiving it. Essential for
those willing to have honest and open relationships,
it's a word that many tend to equate with criticism
and subsequently avoid.
One week after releasing a business outreach
and retention survey, the Platte City Chamber
of Commerce and Economic Development Council (EDC)
is hoping its feedback will be a catalyst for
change in their community.
The survey, conducted with 25 of the city's estimated
300 businesses, offers evaluation on city and
county services, the area's workforce, perceived
barriers to growth and outlines the strengths
and weaknesses of conducting business in the area.
The survey showed that location and accessibility
were viewed as Platte City's strong suit (56 percent
of those responding), followed by the city's "small
town atmosphere/people" (44 percent).
Conversely, it pointed to city hall's "attitude
toward business/developers" as its biggest
weakness (24 percent), followed by growth and
planning (16 percent) and a disloyal "bedroom
community" (16 percent).
The EDC, which presented the results at last
month's chamber of commerce meeting, said the
survey was a good representation of the local
"We felt that number (25) was a good representation
of the business community," explained Karen
Wagoner, director of the EDC. She said that the
businesses were "sprinkled throughout the
old, new, big and little.
Wagoner said that entities being addressed in
the report were alerted before the meeting. She
said that Mayor Dave Brooks and Platte City Administrator
Keith Moody were "very open to addressing
the issue" and have plans to speak to the
chamber in future months.
"I understand the rationale behind the
survey and I can appreciate that," Moody
told The Landmark. "Platte City conducts
a survey of their citizens as well, every two
While Moody didn't dispute the results or the
methodology, he did express a few reservations
about using it as an accurate reflection of the
"I don't disagree with the survey, but you
really need to compare yourself to a benchmark,"
Moody said. "It's relative. You have to consider
how citizens tend to look at services. Some services
are shown in a better light. Others
better a light.
When asked if he thought city hall was one such
institution, Moody replied: "I think you
can draw that conclusion.
Moody didn't debate whether or not the characterization
was a fair one.
it's the reality. Most of the
people who come to city hall tend to have a problem.
We do what we can, but the rules and the codes
are set by the citizens. The aldermen are the
Mayor Brooks did not return phone calls for this
Mayoral candidate Gary Brown, who will challenge
Brooks in the April election, characterized the
results as being "nothing new.
"We've been hearing that for a long time
and it hasn't changed," Brown said. "I
think those business people have a right to express
those feelings and tell us what they see. Things
need to change.
Brown said he envisioned bringing more local
businessmen to city meetings and finding out how
the city could best serve them.
"I've heard from businessmen telling me
different things that we could've done to help
out a business here and there. But we don't do
that, we turn a cold shoulder.
The EDC, it should be noted, received its share
of feedback from the survey. Only one business
listed the chamber of commerce as a perceived
strength for the area, and general comments from
respondents mentioned the need for the chamber/EDC
to recruit more businesses, improve communication
and market the community better.
Wagoner said that the project's next and final
step was to sit down with the entities singled
out and develop an action plan with them.
"Sometimes it's as simple as communication.
"The number one thing is communication,
and that also means you've got to listen to them.
Communication is a two-way street.
Just like feedback.