NEW ULM — The city of New Ulm is sending surveys to 300 of its residents, split between the four wards, this weekend to gauge satisfaction with a range city services such as snowplowing, parks and utilities.

City Manager Brian Gramentz said the paper surveys will ask residents to rate 14 categories of city services and provide comments.

The state of Minnesota covers the cost of mailing, and the city selects where to send the surveys using a random number generator that grabs 75 addresses from each ward. Recipients have until Feb. 27 to mail the already stamped surveys back and the City Council will go over them at its April 4 meeting.

This is the sixth year of sending out the surveys, Gramentz said, and the information gathered has helped inform the City Council and administration about potential changes to make. He said the goal is to get a representative sample, not grill all 6,000 residents.

"Snowplowing is the only item specifically identified in the survey," Gramentz said, the rest ask for opinions on more broad topics like "police protection" or "condition of city streets."

"Plowing comments made us do a thing downtown when we plow intersections to knock down the corners a little more so people can see other cars coming," Gramentz said.

About 60 percent of the surveys find their way back to the city offices with responses, he said.

The ratings swing from positive to negative and written comments are a mixed bag, but if a group of responses for a category is very different in one ward than in others, it would prompt the city to look into possible problems, Gramentz said.

The anonymous answers from each year's survey are posted on the city website and are categorized by ward.

"Quit putting your nose in our business. I don't care for the survey," one responder commented on last year's survey. Another wrote, "So many people comment on what a pretty clean town this is with so much to do! I'm happy I got to do this survey!"

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