"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Master Plan Survey and Marketing

As we continue the Master Plan process, I took a look at the  2013 Master Plan Survey. Almost three years have passed and I found a somewhat different perspective in my views of the data collected. I was particularly interested in why people live here as it has a direct impact on how we market the town.
Of note is that 99.5 % of the respondents were property owners in Moultonboro and 53% were year round residents. 44% lived here 21 or more years and 42% were retired.
A total of about 600 or so surveys were completed, smaller than hoped for, but a decent response rate. Keep in mind that the survey is just one source of information used for the Master Plan creation and should not be interpreted as the " final" word. It does point in certain directions though.

Why do you choose to live here? Of the 579 people who answered this question, as "Important" or "Very Important," here are the percentages ( high to low)  of the 11 choices:
  • 88% proximity to recreation areas
  • 85% low crime rate
  • 83% chose rural lifestyle
  • 81% low taxes
  • 77% rural character
  • 56% environmental quality laws
  • 49% land use laws/ code enforcement
  • 27% access to urban areas
  • 27% family ties
  • 24% reasonable commute
  • 22% school system
It would seem then that other than low taxes, the major reasons people live here are more closely related to lifestyle than jobs or schools. 
Consider though that in response to the question of whether you have school age children living in your household, only 54 of the 554 who answered this question positively, about 10%. Stretching statistics just a bit, based upon a total population of about 4,400 assuming 10% have school age children at home,  could mean that there are about 440 families in town with school age children. It would follow then that the school system may not be the main driver of why people live/move here, because many do not have school age children. Of those that do, the schools could be the main driver. Zillow provides ratings of schools and districts and they rated Moultonboro Academy 9 out of  a possible 10 and the Central School at 7 out of 10, both very high marks.

54% of respondents work...somewhere. Of the 564 who answered the question : How many people in your household are employed, self employed, retired, unemployed, disabled or other?
93% had someone who was employed or self employed and 60% had someone who was retired. Of those 93% employed, 34% are self employed, so maybe commuting is not a priority as they either work from home or own a business.

I suspect that more survey instruments and methods will be used should we embark on a marketing plan. The basic question that has been out there for a number of years though is what do we want to be? We are losing more residents than are being born or moving in. We may have an older and aging demographic, but we still have a sizable under 50 population and around 500 or children in the school system. 
Marketing may be more about competition with other towns for a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. Based upon the survey and focus groups, most people do not want too much in the Town to change, but we are changing nonetheless. Better to be proactive then bury our head in the sand. 

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Blogger, based on some of your previous blogs, I think it is safe to say you enjoy research. The Town Clerk can most likely provide data on new citizens if they are registered voters since she has to notify the town or city of prior residency that our new citizens are now registered elsewhere. Conversely, she should be notified as to where our former citizens have moved. Similar data should be available from the school system, if applicable, as transcripts come and go.

On another note, I read that two-thirds of Americans live and die within 100 miles of where they were born. Also, that millennials are choosing to live in cities. It would be interesting to know how many of the Academy alumni live in Moultonborough and if not, where they have chosen to live.

I wish you well in solving our demographic problem Many other towns in this part of the state and northward will be interested in the BoS solution if you do. Probably other states, as well.

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of Moultonborough Academy graduates continue on to post secondary education. Very few of them bring their degrees back to Moultonborough because there are no jobs here for them to earn a living, support themselves and pay off their student loans. There are no homes available in the price range of someone just starting out. Think about it.....if you were 22 years old with a brand new business degree - would YOU choose Moultonborough?

Moultonboro Blogger said...

Anon at 730- perhaps not in Moultonboro, but maybe Concord, or Manchester. I had a neighbor who traveled to Keene 5 days a week. My brother made a two hour commute daily to his job from the mountains of NJ to Newark. Many people do so that their families can enjoy a better quality of life. It is short sighted and incorrect to say that the jobs have to be here for people to live here. The barrier is clearly affordable housing. And yes if I were 22 with a business degree I would choose Moultonboro. It is a great place to raise a family.

Anonymous said...

Why don't builders start village, cluster, housing developments, close to/in town. If there are so many retirees, they will want, some day, assisted living quarters, rather than nursing homes. They could sell their present homes to the younger families. There may be enough of these elderly, getting older, that the market will be such, as to make their present homes affordable to younger families.

New jobs, like home-care, tele-medicine in the home, technicians to fix home care equipment, transportation services, etc. might inspire new business and entrepreneurs.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct. Moultonborough has been a great place to raise a family - I happily raised mine here. A few years from now, all my children will be young adults with college degrees. None of them has any intention of returning here to begin their adult lives. They see what this town is becoming - they see a stagnant community. Is it reasonable to live in a pleasant, progressive community and commute to work so your family can have a better quality of life? Absolutely:"Yes!" Other towns in New Hampshire provide that environment. Unfortunately, Moultonborough does not.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8:09. Your comments are just generalizations. Please be specific. What has changed from the start of raising your children to now that it has become a stagnant community. What other towns provide a better environment. Did you commute and, if so, to where? It is difficult to absorb and respond to generalizations.

Anonymous said...

If proximity to recreation, low crime, rural lifestyle and low taxes (all over 80%) are the four top reasons for living in MB, why is the BoS wasting time on trying to bring in more businesses, etc?

Just makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Here is some more cheery news about NH.

http://nhpr.org/post/report-nh-has-12th-most-expensive-childcare-nation

A few excerpts:

New Hampshire families in the middle of the income bracket would have to spend about 14 percent of their income on infant care for a single child, according to the report. A worker making only the minimum wage would have to spend about 78 percent of their income.

Earlier this year, a group of New Hampshire lawmakers introduced a proposal that would have set up a new state property tax refund to help offset the costs of childcare expenses. The bill didn’t make it past the Senate and was referred for further study.

State Property Tax ... we know if that ever happens this town will be paying child care cost for all of NH.

I don't see how some of the young people today can afford to have children. Granted, there are Federal tax credits for child care.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this thread is quite incredible. Seniors short-selling expensive homes to local young couples who can commute long distances to gainful employment? Right! Seniors relocating to yet to be developed adult living communities in the area? Speaking for myself, I followed opportunity, , moving across the nation, working nation-wide, educating our kids in the finest universities, having them and their families seeking and landing the most significant opportunities available in varied parts of our nation...our retirement home after 40 years of intensive, rewarding labor will remain a gathering spot for those rare and special occasions when our working loved ones can assemble...when we can no longer live here, we will regrettably sell for maximum return and pass on any assets we have to our grandchildren...far from stagnant, there are similar plans afoot, I'm certain. I am assuming that the vast majority of parents , if not all, have similar hopes for their children...it's a good thing to let them go and find their lives...this dribble is counterproductive