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Town Business Climate Survey Results Summary (April 2011)

General Comments:

The general tenor of the responses indicates that a streamlined and more easily understood zoning process and better use of the Town website and the internet for finding required documents and interacting with town officials would be useful in improving the business climate in Portsmouth. There were also some useful comments and suggestions in the survey responses for the Town Director of Business Development, the Portsmouth Business Association, and the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee, which will provide some guidance for future actions to them.

Summary of Responses:

  1. There were 38 responses. Only 34% of respondents conducted business in Portsmouth and over half of them operated either professional services or a home-based business. Another 20% of these were storefront business owners and 20% were in the construction trade.
  2. There were few common concerns about doing business in Portsmouth, although taxes, costs and land use restrictions were mentioned by some.
  3. Likewise, there were few commonly held negative aspects about doing business in Portsmouth, with a specific perceived dislikes for business in the community, with taxes and long board approvals mentioned by a few.
  4. Generally, what people most liked about doing business in Portsmouth were the people and the sense of local community.
  5. Town services that would make it easier to do business in Portsmouth included an up-to-date online business directory with reviews posted by customers, a one-stop approval board, and sewers.
  6. Ratings of the adequacy of public services and utilities were generally high (averaged 4 or over on a 5 point scale) for electricity, public safety and schools, followed by water, communications and town administrative support. Sewage disposal, vocational training, and web-based town services scored the lowest on this question.
  7. Rating the importance of town services and utilities showed that all were considered relatively important.
  8. Responses to various needs for expanding business in Portsmouth showed all nine categories were considered important, with an enhanced Town website providing better and faster services leading the poll with over 70% of respondents considering it to be important or critically important.
  9. Most respondents found it hard to get information about Town regulations or procedures (about 60% of respondents), but 80.6% did not find it difficult to get the required documents once they were identified.
  10. Over 75% of respondents would prefer to get such information from the internet via thet Town Website.
  11. Questions about the Portsmouth Enterprise Zone (EZ) indicated that almost 40% of the respondents were not familiar with the EZ program.
  12. Primary sources for local news about Portsmouth were (76.3%), Newport Daily News (65.8%) and the Sakonnett Times (47.4%).