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. Below are the results of the 2004 City Survey. The survey and analysis were done by Montgomery & Associates, an Austin, Texas research firm.
Survey Questions and ResultsGeneral quality of life questionsBiggest issues facing the CityTransportation questionsCity services questionsCity's response to problems questionsCity's communication efforts questions
Some key findings in the 2004 City Survey include:
- 76 percent believe the City of Round Rock is headed in the right direction, and 10.5% said it’s headed in the wrong direction. These excellent numbers are almost identical to the response we got in 2002, which in turn were a slight improvement over 2000—so the City is maintaining the strong position it attained here in 2002.
- 44% said the quality of life in Round Rock is getting better—a small improvement over 2002 (just above the margin of error), in that even fewer people this year say that the quality of life is getting worse. 2002’s numbers in turn were an improvement over 2000.
- This year the top three city services, all within the margin of error of each other in terms of positive rating, were the fire department, trash collection, and police. Fire departments always tend to do well, but we continue to be impressed by the unusually high marks received by your trash collection service.
- The library might have joined the top tier of city services if not for the fact that 16.8% had no opinion of it. Still, the library’s “excellent” rating alone was second only to the fire department’s.
- 55.9 percent give street maintenance a positive rating and 13.9 percent a negative rating, continuing last year’s small, steady improvement in this area.
- The negative rating for transportation planning continues to drop, from 51.5 percent in 2000, to 41.1 percent in 2002, to 29.2 percent this year. Although the positive rating has not seen a matching increase, this is still very much a step in the right direction. However, transportation planning remains in last place as the least positively-viewed city service.
- The vast majority—76.8 percent—said moving city elections to November would make no difference to them. But 20 percent said it would make them more likely to vote in city and school district elections, while only 3.3 percent said it would make them less likely. So it is possible the switch could increase turnout by making voting more convenient for a substantial number of citizens.
- 51 percent said the smoking ban in restaurants has made them more likely to eat out in Round Rock. 11.5 percent said it made them less likely.
- 72.5 percent said the service they receive when they call the City on the telephone for services of information was excellent or good.
- When we ask for the most important issue facing the city, traffic control is now tied for first place with growth management, rather than in its usual commanding lead. That speaks very well of the city’s efforts at traffic control in these years—they are working. However, a related issue—street and road maintenance—has more than doubled as a point of concern since 2002, which suggests that that’s an issue to keep an eye on.
- 68.5 percent agreed that there is more construction than usual on the roads they drive frequently around town.
- The traffic situation on state roads and highways receives an abysmal positive rating of 13.8 pervent and a negative rating of 54.8 percent. That’s very similar to 2002.
- When it came to the job the City is doing in managing traffic, this year’s positive rating of 46.6 percent and negative rating of 52.6 percent, while an improvement over 2000’s nadir, remain troubling. 68.3 percent say Round Rock traffic is getting worse.
- On the more positive side, 49.3 percent rate traffic in their neighborhoods positively—that’s up slightly from the 2002.
- As in past years, local TV news retains its dominance here as a source for city news. Next in importance, are friends, utility bill enclosures, and the Statesman.
- The City Beat ad and homeowners’ association newsletters, which we had not asked about in previous surveys, turned out to be a source of city news for a significant number of people.
- 62.4 percent said the city is doing a good or excellent job of listening to and responding to the needs of citizens. That’s eight points higher that 2002, which was about ten points higher than in 2000, so these numbers are moving strongly upwards.
- 58.5 percent show some interest in paying utility bills or traffic tickets on the City’s website, although that number was cut in half when we added a transaction fee. But 80.8% expressed at least some interest in being able to place city work requests or sign up for city recreation programs online.
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It’s remarkable how little these numbers have changed since 2002—and what changes we see are nearly all improvements. This is more remarkable than it sounds. Even when it comes to sensitive, emotionally fraught issues like traffic, the City’s numbers are not getting worse, and in many cases are getting better. That’s a signal that the City is genuinely listening to its citizens—via the results of these surveys and in other ways—and responding in ways that make a difference.
So it’s no surprise that 62.4 percent of our respondents this year said the city is doing an excellent or good job of listening to and responding to the needs of citizens—a number that has been climbing strongly since 2000.
No wonder that three in four believe the City of Round Rock is headed in the right direction. With its consistently high ratings for important city services like police, fire, trash, and libraries; its success in holding the line on unhappiness about traffic; and its fine marks for customer service—the City of Round Rock has reason to be proud.
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This survey was conducted from February 10-16, 2004 and tested 400 residents of Round Rock, Texas. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent. The purpose of the poll was to survey attitudes and opinions about city services and quality of life issues.
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