A citizen survey that seeks find out about various aspects of life in Milford was mailed to residents this week with utility bills. The survey includes questions about traffic, historic preservation, housing needs, entertainment and recreation ideas, and shopping trends.

Milford residents should notice something extra included in their monthly electric statements this week.

No, it’s not a request for more money. It is actually a citizen survey developed by the Economic Development Advisory Panel, a committee of local citizens chosen to assess the six-point action plan that was adopted by the city council in January, that aims to quantify how residents feel about the quality of life in Milford. The survey includes questions about traffic, historic preservation, housing needs, entertainment and recreation ideas and shopping trends.

The results of the survey will serve as a guide for the advisory council as it makes decisions and recommendations to the Economic Development Committee and the Milford City Council.

Advisory Panel member and survey author Bob Connelly is hoping for a lot of responses so that the advisory panel can obtain the clearest possible picture of what Milford residents would like to get out of their community.

“We are hoping to hear what direction Milfordians want economic development to take,” Connelly said.

This may not be the first survey that some residents have seen from the panel. Last year, the advisory panel mailed approximately 600 surveys to business owners in an effort to gauge the business environment in the city.

According to respondents of the business survey, more than 50 percent of business owners felt that utility rates were the biggest obstacle to growth and expansion. Other impediments included water and sewer availability, crime, and planning and zoning regulations, all which hovered around 30 percent.

Another surprising result of the business survey was that 50 percent of business owners also felt that there is a lack of qualified personnel available to work.

The lack of qualified personnel may be directly related to the results of the Milford High School Economic Development Survey that was given to seniors last year. Only nine out of 142 students surveyed reported plans to return to Milford after college.

And, while 87 percent of last year’s graduating seniors said that they knew what career path they would be pursuing, only 54 percent believe that career is available in Milford.

Additionally, entrepreneurship interested 26 percent of the students but only 35 percent believe that Milford has the tools in place to start a new business venture.

All three surveys have both overlapping and target-specific questions that the advisory panel will utilize to create a broad, inclusive picture of the needs of Milford.

Once all the results have been quantified, the Economic Advisory Panel will hold a citizen’s forum that will allow residents to dictate the priority of issues. No schedule for the forum has been announced yet.

The advisory panel will review all the information gathered and make recommendations to the Economic Development Committee who, in turn, gives suggestions to the Milford City Council.

The deadline to return the survey and be included in the results is March 31. Additional survey information can by found at the City of Milford’s website. Click "departments" and scroll down to "Economic Development" to access the citizen survey online or see the Milford Resource Profile and the Economic Development Guide.