City unveils survey results

Feb. 08, 2013 @ 05:12 PM

The results of a city-commissioned survey show High Point residents’ satisfaction levels with some services have increased while they continue to highlight certain priorities they would like to see the city address.
The surveys were mailed to 1,200 city households in November, and 401 residents completed the seven-page document.
“One purpose is to get input from the silent majority — these people who are not going to come to a City Council meeting. They’re not necessarily going to make themselves known here, but they will show up to vote, and they are the people that (council members) represent,” said Karen Falk, senior project manager for Kansas City-based market research firm ETC Institute, which compiled and analyzed the survey data.
The city also uses the results to help determine priorities in putting together future budgets.
The survey cost the city $11,548. It was the fourth one the city has had done in the past seven years.
A map with the location of survey respondents shows them spread throughout the city. Falk said the survey methodology provides for a random, socioeconomically and geographically diverse sample of residents.
“We are not able to talk with everyone, but there is a margin of error that we can respect,” she said.
Falk said another purpose of the survey is to measure trends over time.
She said that, compared to past surveys, respondents this time noted “significant” increases in their satisfaction levels with 35 categories of city services, including enforcement of city codes and ordinances, quality of parks and recreation services, overall appearance of city facilities, effectiveness of city communication with the public and the quality of the city’s stormwater management system.
“That’s one of the highest growth levels I’ve honestly ever seen. You rated higher than most of the national and regional benchmarks, which is just terrific,” Falk told council members during a recent briefing on the survey results.
Services that drew high levels of satisfaction by respondents included the quality of fire services and response to medical emergencies, the overall quality of library services, customer service provided by city employees, the quality of trash, recycling and yard waste services and the quality of parks and recreation programs and services.
Falk said that, based on the survey, the emphasis for the city over the next two years should be removal of decrepit housing, maintenance of streets, sidewalks and infrastructure, the overall quality of economic development and efforts to reduce neighborhood drugs and prostitution.
She said 36 percent of the survey-takers responded that they were dissatisfied with city efforts to remove dilapidated housing. She said that any time more than 1 out of 5 residents say they’re dissatisfied with a particular service, it should get the attention of city officials.
“We think that’s really borderline something you should do something about,” Falk said.
City Manager Strib Boynton said future spending will target priorities like street resurfacing and sidewalk construction that were identified in the survey. 
“There are some areas in here that we’ve all talked about in the last few weeks that we need to deal with,” he said.