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Owen Sound issues alert about 'unauthorized text messages'

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Just days after Forum Research began calling residents for an Owen Sound-sanctioned citizen satisfaction survey, city hall issued an alert about another company sending unauthorized text messages to mobile phones.

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The city says calls and text messages from “Tell City Hall” or tellcityhall.ca about a survey are not affiliated with Owen Sound or Forum Research.

Michelle Palmer, the city’s senior manager of strategic initiatives and operational effectiveness, said a resident alerted Owen Sound officials about the text messages and the city confirmed with Forum that they’re not behind them.

“We have heard that this has happened in other cities – once a survey has started this (other) organization will do this,” she said.

Calls from Forum Research will come up as a 1-800 number on call display, Palmer said. A live person will be on the other end. Forum will not send out follow-up text messages.

From the information the city has gathered, the unauthorized text messages relate to a survey about police services.

Forum Research is conducting the telephone survey from July 12 to 30. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.

It’s part of an Owen Sound “Let’s Connect” citizen satisfaction survey, intended to gauge public opinion on a wide range of topics, from property taxes and council decision-making to municipal programs and services and customer service.

Council set aside $25,000 in Owen Sound’s 2021 capital budget to undertake the survey. Results are to be presented in September.

Forum is using a random digit dial method to reach people on their landline or cell phones. The company is aiming for a sample size of 400 respondents, which will create a margin of error of plus/minus 4.9 percentage points at a 95 per cent confidence interval.

A supplemental online survey has also been launched, so all citizens can have a say. The results of the statistically accurate telephone survey and online survey will be kept separate.

More information on the city’s survey is available at owensound.ca/survey.

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