Mayor Chris Beutler said today that the public gave the City an "A" grade in the latest Taking Charge survey. Residents expressed significant satisfaction with 19 of the 21 or 90 percent of the service areas included in the study. And he said the City would continue to focus on those areas that need improvement, including street maintenance, StarTran service, stormwater and wastewater management and recycling and sustainability efforts. Complete results are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: Taking Charge).
This summer, about 600 randomly selected residents completed a mailed survey and more than 1,200 people took the same survey online or on paper copies available at City libraries. One area that showed significant improvement from the 2012 survey is in satisfaction with the local economy.
"It is clear that citizens are enjoying the benefits of Lincoln's historic economic growth," Mayor Beutler said. "The strongest increase in people's satisfaction were with 'employment opportunities' and 'job creation and economic development.' That satisfaction with the economy is demonstrated in responses to another survey question. There was a 10-percent increase in the number of people in the random sample survey who agreed that Lincoln's plan for growth is proceeding in the right direction." A similar increase was seen among volunteer respondents.
The survey showed that 75 percent of the respondents use library services, and more than 84 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with library services. Respondents also gave high ratings to neighborhood services, such as sidewalks, residential snow removal, neighborhood appearance and safety.
The Mayor said snow removal is an example of how the City has used the Taking Charge process to improve service. After the 2012 survey showed dissatisfaction in that area, the Public Works and Utilities Department tried new methods, including the application of salt brine. The new random-sample survey shows that 69.3 percent of residents are now neutral, satisfied or very satisfied with snow operations.
Beutler said the City has increased efforts to address residents' concerns about street maintenance. "In addition to the major street construction and repair now under way, the Public Works and Utilities Department is using new equipment and new techniques to repair our streets more quickly and efficiently," he said. "This summer, we set a pace to nearly triple our amount of permanent asphalt repairs annually. We have purchased new pothole filling equipment that allows one employee to do the work of three. The increased efficiency will allow Public Works to shift personnel to more permanent street repair. I am confident that these improvements will increase citizen satisfaction by the next survey."
Other areas of dissatisfaction include the following:
The Mayor thanked the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center (PPC), which has partnered with the City on the Taking Charge process since 2008. The University's Bureau of Sociological Research handled data collection for the random sample survey. More information on the partnering agencies is available at ppc.nebraska.edu and bosr.unl.edu.