Councilmember Bridge Littleton reported to Council that Myra Gossens, of MPG Advisors, had “proposed to do an economic scan . . . coupled with a survey focusing on “economic and business development” as part of Middleburg’s ongoing “visioning” exercises, both for its own sake and in preparation for updating the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.
“The idea,” he noted, “was to get the pulse of tourists who spent money, including what they did or did not like, and the pulse of businesses to see if they were interested in expanding and, if they were interested in the Middleburg area, what would be important to them.”
The results of the survey would, reportedly, be distributed to the members of the Middleburg Business and Professional Association, individuals on the Economic Development Coordinator’s distribution list and individuals “in Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s database.”
In his view, “the survey would be sent to twenty to thirty thousand people that were located within thirty minutes of Middleburg.” The survey would consist of roughly twenty “easy questions and a final question with closing comments.”
Councilmember Littleton noted that “Gossens would charge by the hour” and that her usual fee for this sort of thing was around $16,000.”
Suggesting “the need to manage her hours to get the price down,” Littleton observed that “her rate was comparable to most facilitators in the Northern Virginia area, although it was a little high.” He also promised Council “that he would try to get her down a little on the hourly rate. “
Council at that point “expressed concern about the proposed cost” asked Littleton to negotiate with Ms. Gossens to reduce her hourly rate to $300 or $325 and cap the number of hours, with the Town handling some of the administrative work.”
Economic Development Coordinator Cindy Pearson then noted that the Town could, in fact, and “conduct large Survey Monkey surveys through its contract with Constant Contact” which, until March 22, could be seen online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/middleburgeconomicsurvey