BUCKFIELD — The results of the two-part survey focusing on a number of departments and subjects in town are in – and those who responded are mostly satisfied with the overall job the town’s employees are doing.

In mid-October, Town Manager Cindy Dunn mailed out the surveys with the town’s tax bills, one to each household. A total of 733 were mailed and 88 people returned the first part, which is a 12 percent return rate. There were 75 who returned the second part of the survey, which equals a 10 percent return rate.

Dunn asked residents to rate six town departments – town office, fire department, rescue department, public works, library and transfer station – on a scale of 1 to 5. A rating of 1 equates to very satisfied, 3 equals no opinion and 5 meant very dissatisfied.

There were 10 “very dissatisfied” ratings, or a 5, received in the first part of the survey, with five of those coming from one household with the same comment for each department. “Too much money being spent.”

The town office had an average score 1.3, as there were 74 responses rating it a 2 or higher. Many of the comments – which were optional – praised the office staff. One respondent wrote, “I’ve been very happy with the way I have been treated at the Town Office – very responsibly and respectfully.”

A few were not satisfied with the town office hours and at least three suggested having the office open on Saturday. A couple respondents worried about Dunn’s workload, thinking more duties should be spread out. One household’s response commented on the rules.

“Long time residents should not be treated as untruthful strangers,” the comment reads. “Don’t let anyone change the rules just because you favor them over someone else. All laws apply to all people.”

The fire department had a 1.8 rating, with 55 people giving it a 2 or higher. There were 38 responses that had no opinion. There were many comments of praise for the department, including kudos for firefighters’ dedication and sacrifices. A few thought the new Buckfield Fire-Rescue Station cost too much money. One response read, “Million $ Station !!! Grrrrr.”

The rescue department had a slightly higher rating than fire, coming in at 1.6. There 66 ratings of 2 or higher and nine had no opinions. This department also received praise, including one respondent who wrote, “Only needed their help once too – but I’m glad they were there.”

One comment suggested merging the rescue with the fire department and make it one as they share a building. Another wanted a cost analysis done on the rescue department and said their household rarely sees rescue personnel in the northwestern part of town.

“Most individuals here are taken to the hospital by a family member or friend,” the response reads. “Perhaps we should be served by Rescue from a larger town.”

The highway department had the second lowest ranking of the five departments, standing at 1.9 There were 47 ratings of 2 or higher and nine had no opinions. Many were thankful for the winter plowing the highway crew does in town.

One respondent wondered how to reach someone from the department on the weekend or after hours when there’s a problem such as a tree down, wash out or rock rolled into the road. Three households commented on the sidewalks and ditches on High Street, with one calling them dangerous. There were several other suggestions ranging from using less salt when it’s sunny out to grading the railroad bed more often to improving roads.

The library department received the lowest rating of the departments, with a 2.2 average. There were 65 people who gave it a 2 or higher and 30 responses with no opinion. At least two comments commended the librarian.

There were a few complaints – along with one in an one-page letter about the library – about the clutter in the building. One respondent wrote the building is “too small a facility to serve as a modern library. We belong to the Norway Library.”

At least two responses suggested using the space to house the historical society and one of those included forming a youth group at the library to keep the kids off the streets and give them a place to socialize.

The transfer station was rated a 1.5 and 71 people gave it a 2 or higher. Many people said the attendants were great, helpful and/or courteous.

One of these people wrote, “You could use a sign there that reads Be Polite to your older, slower people because will be there in time too.”

Suggestions included clearing up confusion about what can be recycled, including posting signs, recycling more plastics, opening on Tuesdays and moving it to a more central location closer to Sumner.

The second part of the survey asked about preferred dates and times of town meeting. The majority of respondents prefer the current Saturday morning schedule, with a few asking for a different month than June – in March or April. One household respondent said a night meeting on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in late fall or winter was ideal.

The second question asked if residents preferred capped warrant articles at town meeting. There were 26 yes responses and 31 no responses.

The survey asked for comments about the resurrected Community Day event held over Labor Day weekend. The responses ranged from thanking the volunteers to getting organized earlier so there’s more floats in the parade and participation to hosting some sort of water activity for kids and parents to cool to inviting a marching band for the parade.

The last part asked areas in town to improve on and there were a number of responses. A few commented about cleaning up junkyards and garbage on Depot street and enforcing the junkyard ordinance, addressing speeding in the village, lowering the tax rate, figuring out to to keep residents in Buckfield and attract other families and small businesses, selectmen meeting longer than 16 minutes and fixing the conditions of the south-north hill roads.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.