Ninety-five percent of Montgomery residents who responded to a recent countywide survey said they consider Montgomery a good place to live, but more than half said traffic congestion, overpopulation and new construction are major issues facing the county.
Results of the county-commissioned survey were released this week by County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist. Gilchrist said he was not surprised by the results, including the finding that traffic and growth now "supersede all other issues" for 55 percent of respondents.
He said efforts are under way to improve the situation.
Potomac Survey Research Inc. conducted 525 telephone interviews in May, asking respondents 54 questions about life in the county.
Results show that although traffic and growth have unseated taxes as the major issue in the county, 30 percent of the respondents believe they are not getting their tax dollar's worth in services. However, only 6 percent cited taxes as the most important issue in the county.
"I'm pleased to see taxes aren't the burning issue anymore," Gilchrist said, "but that doesn't mean we're going to go out and raise taxes."
More than 31 percent of the respondents say they never use public transportation because it is inaccessible or they would rather drive.
Gilchrist said efforts are under way to relieve traffic congestion. The Transportation Department is asking employers to encourage workers to use alternative transportation or charge for parking in their lots. Transportation Director Robert McGarry has said he plans to double or triple public parking rates in the Bethesda central business district.
G. Keith Haller, president of the research firm, said Montgomery is the only county in the area to have commissioned a survey to gauge public response to issues and government service. The survey cost $9,500 and has a 4.5 percent margin of error.
Gilchrist also announced the creation of a county government archives to preserve government historical records, including budgets, tax collection books and letters dating back to the 1860s.
The archives, to be run by the public library, will have a $50,000 annual operating budget and be housed in the Red Brick Courthouse in Rockville. The County Council approved funding for the archives in the fiscal 1986 budget.
There are about 22,000 unorganized boxes of documents stored in the county records center. "Basically the records will be more organized and accessible to the public," Gilchrist said. "You can go through and read 22,000 boxes now, but this will categorize it."
He said he hopes the archives will be open by March.