Lincoln Institute
of Public Opinion Research

2001 Borough Officials Survey

SECTION I: General

1.) What is the population of your borough?

94%    Under 10,000  
5%      10,000 to 20,000  
0%      20,000 to 30,000  
1%     
30,000 to 40,000  
0%      50,000 plus

2.) What was the range of your borough’s 2001 general fund budget?

45%    Up to $500,000
20%    $500,000 to 1 million  
23%    $1 – 3 million  
6%      Over $3 million  
6%      No answer

3.) How long have you served as a borough official?

23%    Less than 4 years
19%    4 – 8 years  
56%    8 years or more  
2%      No answer  

4.) What party are you a member of?  

42%    Democrat  
46%    Republican  
4%      Independent  
8%      No Answer

5.) What is the range of your earnings per year as a borough official?

25%    Less than $2,500
13%    $2,500 to $5,000  
8%      $5,000 to $10,000
48%    Over $10,000  
6%      No answer

SECTION II: Growth & Development

1.) What is the biggest problem facing your borough  

36%    Low commercial tax base  
36%    Aging infrastructure  
3%      Affordable housing  
1%      Medical facilities  
2%      Crime  
7%      Unemployment  
15%    Other

2.) How would you describe your borough’s tax base?

7%      Growing  
52%    Steady  
35%    Declining  
6%      No answer

3.) Does your borough have Internet access?

66%    Yes  
32%    No
2%      No answer

4.) Do you use Internet access to conduct business?  

58%    Yes  
42%    No

5.) Does your borough have an active historical society?  

38%    Yes  
61%    No  
1%      No answer

6.) Is historical preservation a high priority in your borough?

30%    Yes  
42%    No  
28%    No opinion/No answer  

7.) Is bringing new business and creating jobs a high priority in your borough?

55%    Yes  
28%    No  
17%    No opinion/No answer

8.) If bringing new business to your borough is a high priority, what type of business would you like to see develop?

29%    Manufacturing  
25%    Retailing  
13%    Tourism  
30%    Service & technology  
3%      Other

9.) Is development of new residential housing a high priority for your borough government?

23%    Yes
64%    No
13%    No opinion/No answer

10.) Is development of new affordable housing a high priority for your borough government?

18%    Yes
63%    No
19%    No opinion/No answer

11.) In the last fiscal year, has your borough received any grants?

79%    Yes
20%    No
1%      No answer

12.) If you have received a grant. What was the grant used for?

22%    Infrastructure
10%    Roads & highway improvements
13%    Law enforcement
6%      Historical preservation
5%      Economic development
6%      Downtown beautification
31%    Recreation
7%      Other

13.) Do you have a Keystone Opportunity Zone in your borough?

11%    Yes
84%    No
5%      No answer

14.) If you do have a KOZ in your borough, how would you rate the success of the zone?

16%    Very successful
20%    Somewhat successful
16%    Unsuccessful
48%    No opinion

15.) Does the borough directly fund recreation programs?

59%    Yes
39%    No
2%      No answer

16.) If your borough does directly fund recreation programs, do you feel the level of funding is”

28%    Proportionate to other borough budget items
8%      Disproportionately high compared to other borough budget items
26%    Too low compared to other borough budget items
38%    About right

17.) Do you feel that boroughs in Pennsylvania are treated fairly by the General Assembly in Harrisburg?

45%    Yes
39%    No
16%    No Opinion 

SECTION III: Inter-Municipal Agreements

1.) Does your borough have any inter-municipal agreements or inter-municipal authorities?

72%    Yes
24%    No
4%      No Answer

2.) Do you favor your borough entering into inter-municipal agreements?

73%    Yes
7%      No
20%    No Opinion

3.) If you favor inter-municipal agreements for your borough, which type would be most beneficial?

43%    Police
21%    Sewer
22%    Planning & zoning
9%      Highway
5%      Other 

SECTION IV: Planning

1.) The General Assembly has given school districts some options for local property tax reform, as a borough official would you like to have similar options to lower property taxes?

57%    Yes
14%    No
29%    No opinion/No answer

2.) If the General Assembly were to enact legislation to give boroughs the ability to implement or raise other taxes to lower property taxes, which would be your highest priority to impose or raise?

63%    Earned income tax
20%    Sales Tax
5%      Mercantile tax
14%    Business privilege tax

3.) Do you believe that your borough’s zoning ordinances are adequate and up-to-date?

42%    Yes
36%    No
22%    No opinion/No answer

4.) Do you favor or oppose county government taking control of land use planning and zoning in your borough?

15%    Favor
58%    Oppose
27%    No opinion/No answer

5.) If state government were willing to fund only one of the following projects in your borough, which one would be your highest priority?

28%    Road improvements
1%      Libraries
17%    Wastewater treatment
5%      Emergency fire & rescue services
8%      Police department
0%      Subsidies to farmers
5%      Borough maintenance department
3%      Public transportation
9%      Improve affordable housing stock
2%      Preserve open spaces
8%      Parks & recreation
2%      Other
12%    No answer

6.) During your term in office, has your borough’s budget increased, decreased, or stayed about the same?

56%    Increased
3%      Decreased
38%    Stayed About the Same
3%      No Answer

7.) During your term in office, has your borough’s tax bill to residents increased, decreased or stayed about the same?

37%    Increased
3%      Decreased
57%    Stayed about the same
3%      No answer

8.) During your term in office, has your borough’s tax bill to businesses increased, decreased, or stayed about the same?

22%    Increased
3%      Decreased
69%    Stayed about the same
6%      No answer

Methodology:

     The Lincoln Institute’s 2001 Borough Officials Survey was mailed to 2,000 borough mayors and council members on September 4, 2001.  By the response deadline of September 25, 2001, a total of 280 responses had been received.