Vandiver Group expected to rep St. Louis district

ST. LOUIS: The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District expects to hire the locally based Vandiver Group to conduct research on customer perceptions of the district.

ST. LOUIS: The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District expects to hire the locally based Vandiver Group to conduct research on customer perceptions of the district.

Initial spending is projected at $47,975 with a reserve fund of $20,785, said Lance LeComb, district public affairs specialist. The district's board is to vote on the contract with Vandiver at its June 10 meeting.

If approved, the research would be the first phase of a new effort by the district to improve its image with customers. "We're trying to become very focused on the rate payer," LeComb said.

The research phase is expected to last 60 days and lead to a customer relations program that could be launched before the end of the year.

Spending for that larger effort hasn't been determined.

Vandiver was selected because of its experience working with other local governmental bodies, he said. The agency will conduct focus groups with key stakeholders as part of its research.

The district does an annual consumer survey, but "it doesn't get down into customer expectations," LeComb said. Vandiver will do that.

The district serves 423,411 commercial and residential customers in St. Louis and St. Louis County. Its six trustees are appointed by the mayor of St. Louis and by the county.

District trustees last year cut six people from the district's PR staff in an effort to pare overall expenses.

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