Survey finds satisfaction levels high with Carlsbad residents

CARLSBAD — At a recent City Council meeting, results from the 2011 Carlsbad Resident Survey and State of Effectiveness Annual Report were presented. Both were done in tandem because the survey filters into the State of Effectiveness Annual Report.The compilation of information offers a comprehensive way for the city to gauge how its citizens view the overall outlook in their town.

Josh Williams, president of BW Research Partnership, Inc. based in Carlsbad, was first up in his presentation. This marks the fifth year the firm prepared the Carlsbad Resident Survey Report. Williams said last September and October, 1,000 Carlsbad residents took part in a phone survey which lasted approximately 20 minutes for each participant.

“We wanted to get an overall assessment of satisfaction of the job that the city is doing,” he said. Areas addressed were quality of life, safety of community, sense of community and city services.

The city reached new highs in areas such as quality of life, traffic congestion and residential growth and development.

The survey highlighted the following percentages of respondent satisfaction numbers: 94 percent were satisfied with city services; 98 percent rated the quality of life in Carlsbad as excellent; 99 percent felt safe walking alone in their neighborhood; and 84 percent showed confidence in their city government.

Also in the 90-plus percentile were a breakdown in city services such as library, city parks, trash collection, water and sewer services and fire protection and law enforcement.

Williams said while the overall resident satisfaction is decreasing on a national or statewide level, in Carlsbad it’s increasing.

Lolly Sangster, management analyst for the city of Carlsbad, presented the 12th annual State of Effectiveness Report.

“Despite the unusual economic times, most of our measures have remained very strong,” she said, adding that the town population is at 106,555. “We have accomplished a lot.”

The report was created using data such as the Carlsbad Resident Survey. For comparison reasons, the International City/County Management Association and American Water Works Association were used to measure Carlsbad’s performance compared to other local governments.

New this year in the report, Sangster said, they included highlights of the growth management plan monitoring program, because they felt it was important to show where they were accountable regarding what was being produced in the city.

“We did meet the objectives to ensure adequate public facilities were concurrent with growth,” she said. “The State of Effectiveness Report is prepared every year for its citizens because we want them to know that we are an open and transparent government.”

The three categories of concentration were service delivery, customer satisfaction and cost.

Among a long list of services examined, in the financial health analysis, staff showed that the fiscal year 2011 budget reductions did not considerably affect facility hours, programs and services.

Volunteers stepped up 23 percent, which enhanced the city of Carlsbad, while citizen communication with the city inched up 9 percent over the last few years.

Regarding the safety community component, the fire department improved their numbers picking up the pace in arriving at a scene from 5 minutes 11 seconds to 5:04.

On the police front, for priority one calls, which include violent crimes in progress, the emergency response time was less than six minutes.

Kristina Ray, city communications manager, describes the State of Effectiveness Report as important.

“We know our community expects a lot from their city government, and we want to make sure we are delivering, both in terms of their satisfaction with the job we’re doing and with the specific performance standards we set for ourselves,” Ray said. “It’s part of how we make sure we maintain an excellent quality of life for our community.”

Ray pointed out that the city was pleased with the results and never takes its high marks for granted.

“Each year, the City Council uses this information, along with an update on city finances and trend information, to help set goals for the year,” she said.

Mayor Matt Hall thanked staff for a job well done.

To learn more about these reports, contact the city of Carlsbad at (760) 434-2820 or visit carlsbadca.gov.

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