According to the latest Citizen Satisfaction Survey, 97% of Red Deerians asked say the quality of life in the City is good or very good, with 28% saying their own quality of life has improved over the past three years.
Results of the survey, which was completed in December, were released Tuesday at City Hall.
“As you know, this annual survey gives us the opportunity to gauge citizen satisfaction and compare results from year to year,” said Mayor Tara Veer, adding that last year two surveys were completed, including one in the spring.
“The City did that because of several factors particularly because of changes in the economy, new programs and initiatives,” she said. The next survey, which has been run annually for the past decade, will be conducted in May.
“We now have a full decade of comparable data,” she said. “The survey is just one tool that we use to measure whether or not we are meeting the expectations of our citizens and it also shows us where we need to focus and make improvements, allowing our council to be as responsive as possible to the needs and priorities identified.”
Survey results show that 88% of those asked felt they received good value for their tax dollars.
Twenty-eight per cent of respondents said things had improved, attributing a well-managed municipality, low crime rate, and improved roads as factors.
Forty-eight per cent of citizens said their quality of life remained the same in the past three years.
City Manager Craig Curtis said there is also a number of ways staff communicate with the community through the year as well. But the Citizen Satisfaction Survey, which is done independently, gives the overall impression of what citizens think of the services as a complete ‘basket’ of services which are delivered.
Fifty-six per cent of those asked said they agreed with an increase in taxes to maintain services at current levels, while 36% wanted services cut to stay at current tax levels or to reduce taxes.
Although a low crime rate contributed to a high quality of life in Red Deer, survey respondents stated that transportation and crime are the top-of-mind community issues that should continue to receive attention from community leaders.
“Our citizens’ top-of-mind priorities were addressed by City council during the 2016 operating budget deliberations, including investment in transportation improvements and the addition of six RCMP members in response to the priority Red Deerians have identified for public safety,” said Veer.
Transportation and municipal government services were also identified as top-of-mind priority issues that the City should address over the next year.
Roads were identified as the highest priority for residents in terms of infrastructure (80%), followed by recreation facilities (62%), water treatment facilities (55%), wastewater treatment facilities (42%), and the transit system (38%).
One area of noted improvement – 71% of respondents rated the current condition of roads as excellent or good, an increase from 58% in May 2015.
Veer said overall, it was clear that citizens were happy with the quality of life in the City. “It also helps to build council’s work plan and agenda because our citizens identify for us areas for improvements. So we will certainly factor those into our 2016 work plan.
She said holding 2015’s two surveys was a unique move to also help see what the seasonal differences would mean to citizens’ concerns. “Really, the citizens were consistent regardless of the season. They continued to identify those top three areas around public safety, transportation and core municipal services.”
The Citizen Satisfaction Survey was conducted over the phone by Ipsos between Dec. 3rd and Dec. 15th with a randomly selected sample of 300 Red Deer residents aged 18 years or older.
Check out the complete results by visiting www.reddeer.ca and look under the ‘news’ tab.