Red Deerians continue to give the City comparably high marks for a stream of services according to the 2015 Citizen Satisfaction Survey.
“This survey provides us with a way to identify if we are meeting the expectations of our citizens,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “It also shows where we need to focus and make improvements, allowing City council to be responsive to the needs and priorities of residents.
“I think generally speaking, our citizens have indicated that they are satisfied with the overall quality of life in Red Deer.”
For the second year in a row, 98% of citizens say the quality of life in Red Deer is good to very good, says the report. Two per cent felt that overall quality of life was poor or very poor.
This year’s report also noted a significant increase in satisfaction with snow removal – from 45% to 60%.
Of those surveyed, 22% felt the quality of life has improved in Red Deer in the last three years, and they attributed this to more employment and job opportunities, better roads and economic development and more local businesses.
Eighty-three per cent said they receive fairly good or very good value for their tax dollars. Of that number’s breakdown, 16% felt they were receiving ‘very good value’, while 67% felt they were receiving ‘fairly good value’ for taxes.
Eleven per cent felt they were receiving ‘fairly poor value’ for their tax dollars, while 5% felt they were receiving ‘very poor value’ for their taxes.
Transportation, municipal government services and crime were also identified as top priority issues that residents felt the City should address over the next year.
Roads were also identified as the highest priority for residents in terms of infrastructure (89%), followed by recreation facilities (61%), water treatment facilities (60%), wastewater treatment facilities (41%); and the transit system (38%).
“This annual survey gives us the opportunity to gauge citizen satisfaction and to compare results from year to year. And notably, we’ve been collecting results for the Citizen Satisfaction Survey since 2006, so the City now has nearly a decade of a very strong baseline to draw comparisons from,” said Veer.
Ninety-two per cent of respondents were satisfied with the overall level of City services, while 83% felt they received good value for their tax dollars.
Veer said that the results help guide council and administration in the crafting of policies and providing government that is, “Citizen-friendly, welcoming, accessible and strategic.
“This survey tool is just one method that we use to measure whether we are meeting the expectations of our citizens,” she said. “It helps the City to identify where we can improve our service levels and determine our priorities in moving forward.”
Another survey highlight showed that 31% favoured maintaining or reducing taxes by cutting services while 62% favoured increasing taxes to maintain or expand services.
When asked about the City’s downtown, the most important aspects Red Deerians wanted to see were more green park spaces, more evening entertainment and dining options and more shopping opportunities outside of work hours.
City Manager Craig Curtis agreed that the survey is a, “Valuable tool that we use to measure if municipal operations are meeting the needs of residents, and to help direct future operational and budgetary decisions.
“It gives an excellent snapshot of the community.”
The Survey was conducted over the phone by Ipsos Reid between May 8th and May 28th with a randomly selected sample of 300 residents aged 18 years or older. Another survey will be conducted this fall.