Residents give city high marks for customer service, public safety, basic services; 93 percent say City heading in right direction
Every two years, the City of Round Rock conducts a survey of its citizens to see how well the city government is meeting their needs and to determine the issues of concern to them.
In 2010, Round Rock residents gave their municipal government high ratings for customer service, safety and basic services, and 93 percent say the City is heading in the right direction. Ratings for how well the City is handling traffic flow increased significantly compared to the City’s previous survey.
The overall survey results were an improvement from the 2008 survey, which sets Round Rock apart from other cities across the nation, said Chris Tatham, Vice President of ETC Institute, which conducted the survey. Download PDF of survey results (4mg file)
“The overall quality of City services has improved,” Tatham said at the May 27 City Council meeting. “The last couple of years, nine out of 10 communities that I’ve shown up in have seen decreases. The overall national satisfaction ratings are down 6 to 7 percent compared to a year ago. So the fact that you all are better than you were two years ago is a pretty significant accomplishment.”
The seven-page survey was administered by mail and phone to a random sample of 459 residents in March and April 2010. The results for the random sample of 459 households have a 95% level of confidence with a precision of at least +/- 4.5%.
Round Rock was able to compare its results with regional and national benchmarks for the first time since the City began conducting the survey in 1998. Round Rock ranked above the national average in 41 of 52 areas that were assessed, Tatham said.
Residents were generally satisfied with the overall quality of life in Round Rock. Based upon the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among residents who had an opinion, eighty-seven percent (87%) of residents were satisfied with the overall quality of life in the City, 10% were neutral and only 3% were “dissatisfied.” Other findings are:
Overall Satisfaction with City Services. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of residents, who had an opinion, were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the overall quality of services provided by the City. The City services with the highest levels of satisfaction were: fire services (86%), emergency medical services (84%), library services (82%) and City parks and recreation programs (82%). Residents were least satisfied with transportation planning in the City (45%).
Most Residents Felt Safe in Round Rock. Ninety percent (90%) of residents, who had an opinion, felt “very safe” or “safe” in the City. The areas where residents felt most safe were: in their neighborhood during the day (94%), in Downtown Round Rock (88%) and in City parks (83%). Eighty-one percent (81%) felt safe in their neighborhoods at night.
Customer Service. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of residents, who had contacted the City during the past year, described the service they received as “excellent” or “good.” The customer service items that residents were most satisfied with, based upon the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among residents who had an opinion, were: with how easy the City was to contact (83%) and the way they were treated (82%). When compared to other communities, the City of Round Rock is setting the standard for customer service. Overall satisfaction with customer service among all residents rated 10% above the national average. Satisfaction with how quickly City employees respond to requests from residents rated 22% above the national average, and satisfaction with how well City employees handle issues rated 22% above the national average.
Traffic Flow. More than half (56%) of residents felt traffic flow in the City was getting worse compared to two years ago; 21% felt it was staying the same, 15% felt it was getting better and 8% did not know. Residents were also asked to rate the traffic flow in different areas of the City; the results showed that sixty-three percent (63%) of residents rated traffic flow in and around neighborhoods as “excellent” or “good” and 27% of residents rated traffic flow on state roads and highways as “excellent” or “good.” Although traffic flow was one of the lowest rated areas on the survey, satisfaction with traffic flow in Round Rock rated 7% above the national average when compared to U.S. cities that have grown by 25% or more over the past 10 years.
Long Range Issues. The three biggest issues that residents felt the City of Round Rock will face over the next five years were: 1) traffic (75%), 2) high taxes/property taxes/finances (58%) and 3) school related issues (44%).
The electronic sources that residents used most often to get information were: 1) the Internet (80%), 2) Facebook (46%) and 3) text messages (42%).
More than half (57%) of residents felt the level of service provided by the City in the maintenance of infrastructure should be “much higher” or a “little higher.”
Among the seven major categories of city services that were assessed in 2008 and 2010, there were significant improvements in two areas:
Satisfaction with Transportation Planning in the City increased 13% from 32% in 2008 to 45% in 2010.
Satisfaction with City water and wastewater services increased 7% from 73% in 2008 to 80% in 2010.
Perceptions of Traffic Flow. The percentage of residents who felt traffic flow in the City was “getting worse” decreased significantly from 64% in 2008 to 56% in 2010.
Perceptions of Customer Service Provided by the City. There was a significant increase (+16%) in the percentage of residents who rated the service they received from the City as “excellent” (39% in 2010 versus 23% in 2008). Overall, 79% of those surveyed rated the quality of customer service provided by the City as “good” or “excellent” compared to 77% in 2008. There were no significant decreases in any of the major categories that were rated.
ETC Institute also compared City of Round Rock results to national and southwest region benchmarks.
City of Round Rock citizen satisfaction ratings significantly exceeded national and regional rankings for: parks and recreation, code enforcement, streets and sidewalks, stormwater runoff and flood prevention, communication with the public, and library services.
Round Rock residents also feel significantly safer in their community, exceeding national and regional benchmarks by as much as 20 points, in two of the four categories queried (feeling of safety in Downtown and in City parks).
The benchmarks were developed by ETC in a national survey administered during February and March 2010 to a random sample of more than 4,300 residents in the continental United States, and a regional survey administered to a random sample of 480 residents in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico during February and March 2010.