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Quality of life surveys due soon
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There's still time left to help shape the quality of Forsyth County's future.

Residents have until Jan. 9 to complete the Quality of Life Council's 10-question survey on how the county can maintain and improve itself.

"We've received close to 500 responses, but we're really just trying to push as hard as we can this next couple of weeks to get as many as we can," said James McCoy, council member and president of the local chamber of commerce.

The Quality of Life Council is made up of about 25 community leaders and was created through the Envision 2030 communitywide planning process.

During the yearlong process, which began in 2005, Forsyth residents and employees were asked to share their goals, projects and desires for the county.

Robert Slaughter, council member and founder of SmartGrowth Forsyth, said the Envision 2030 public input process is a great concept. The ideas collected will only "be worth however much the county itself puts into implementing it," he said.

"It's a relatively good sampling of the county and expresses what the citizenry wants from the county," Slaughter said. "It's up to our elected officials to take the ball and run with it."

Slaughter, who has filled out his survey, hopes a more involved community can help lead toward more progress in the future.

Tracking quality of life, McCoy said, is a bit different than the Envision 2030 process. Instead of a wish list for the county, the annual surveys will track success and set guidelines for the future.

Defining and tracking the county's quality of life was the basis for creating the Quality of Life Council.

The survey is the first step toward achieving their goal, McCoy said.

"The next step is for us to get that data and hone it down to something that is understandable and readable," he said.

"When we determine what it is that people find valuable, the next step is then to take those items and identify benchmarks.

"Then we can say, 'Alright, this is where we are today in 2009.' And next year, we can benchmark against that data and determine how we are doing.

"The idea is to help all of us ... that are working for the community's interest, the chamber, nonprofits and government alike. It will just give us a benchmark of how we're doing, where we're off base and what we can be doing better."