Durham, NC Releases 2009 Community Satisfaction Survey Results

Just released results of the Durham, NC recent citizen satisfaction survey show that overall satisfaction with the City has generally improved since the 2007 survey, with more than 78 percent of residents surveyed rating the City as an “excellent” or “good” place to live and 75 percent rating the City as an “excellent” or “good” place to work.

ARTICLE | Mar 1, 2010

Just released results of the Durham, NC recent citizen satisfaction survey show that overall satisfaction with the City has generally improved since the 2007 survey, with more than 78 percent of residents surveyed rating the City as an “excellent” or “good” place to live and 75 percent rating the City as an “excellent” or “good” place to work.

The survey, conducted by an independent market research firm in the winter of 2009, asked a random sample of Durham households about their opinions on the delivery of major City services. Of 1,200 sample households within the city, 445 completed the survey for a 37 percent response rate. The results for the random sample of 445 households have a 95 percent level of confidence with a precision of at least +/- 4.7 percent.

The purpose of the survey, according to City Manager Tom Bonfield, is to help the organization better assess citizens’ satisfaction with City services and to gather input from residents about issues facing the community. “One of our goals is to make sound budget decisions based on data-driven feedback from our citizens,” Bonfield said. “The results from this survey help us determine our priorities for the community as part of our ongoing planning process, provide guidance in making daily management decisions, and determine our long-term strategic direction and funding.”

According to the 2009 survey results, the city had significant increases in satisfaction and/or feelings of safety in 45 out of 58 areas assessed, with no significant decreases in any of those areas. Another significant finding was that 64 percent of residents surveyed felt the City was moving in the right direction – a 13 percent increase over the 2007 survey.

Other major findings of the survey include:

• Resident satisfaction with services provided by the City is increasing. 89 percent were satisfied with the quality of fire protection and rescue services provided by the City of Durham and 68 percent were satisfied with the quality of police protection. Both of these indicators are an increase in satisfaction from the 2007 survey results, from 84 percent and 60 percent respectively. Although only 31 percent were satisfied with maintenance of City streets and infrastructure, this is an increase in satisfaction over the 2007 survey by 8 percent.

• Resident perceptions of various issues concerning the City. 69 percent were satisfied with the quality of their neighborhood and 60 percent were satisfied with the overall services provided by the City. Although only 35 percent were satisfied with the value they receive for their tax dollars, the level of satisfaction has increased over the 2007 survey by 6 percent.

• Feelings of safety. 48 percent felt very safe/safe in the City overall, which is a 12 percent increase over the 2007 survey results of 36 percent. 56 percent felt very safe/safe in downtown Durham, which is a 14 percent increase over the 2007 survey. In addition, 80 percent felt very safe/safe walking alone in their neighborhood during the day and 42 percent felt very safe/safe walking alone in their neighborhood at night.

• City communication. 61 percent felt very satisfied/satisfied with the availability of information about City programs and services, and 58 percent were satisfied with the City’s efforts to keep them informed on local issues – a 16 percent satisfaction increase over the 2007 survey and one of the largest positive increases in this year’s results.

• Parks and recreation. 66 percent felt very satisfied/satisfied with the cultural programming in the City, with 61 percent satisfied with the trails and greenways. Only 37 percent were satisfied with the City’s swimming pools.

• City maintenance. 65 percent were very satisfied/satisfied with the condition of street signs and traffic signals, up significantly in satisfaction levels over the 2007 survey rating of 59 percent. Only 24 percent were very satisfied/satisfied with street maintenance and repair, but this level of satisfaction has increased over the 2007 survey by 6 percent.

• Code enforcement. 51 percent were very satisfied/satisfied with the enforcement of City codes and ordinances, up 8 percent from the 2007 survey. 42 percent were very satisfied/satisfied with the enforcement of clean up of junk and debris on private property, an increase of 13 percent from the 2007 survey of 29 percent.

• City utility services. 85 percent were very satisfied/satisfied with trash collection services, 80 percent with curbside recycling services, 72 percent with yard waste services, 70 percent with wastewater services, and 64 percent with stormwater services. Trash collection services and curbside recycling services showed a 1 percent and 2 percent decline in satisfaction, whereas yard waste services and wastewater services showed an increase in satisfaction of 6 percent and 5 percent respectively over the 2007 survey. The 2009 survey was the first time residents were asked about their satisfaction with stormwater services, so no prior year comparison is available at this time.

The ETC Institute, a professional market research firm based in the Kansas City area, conducted the survey on behalf of the City. The firm has more than 20 years of expertise in customer satisfaction, citizen issues, and community needs assessment research and conducts similar municipal surveys nationwide.

The results of the survey were reported to the Durham City Council during today’s budget retreat. Full results of the survey are also available on the City’s Web site at www.durhamnc.gov/departments/bms/pdf/citizen_survey_2009.pdf.

For more information, visit www.durhamnc.gov/departments/bms or call the Durham Budget and Management Services Department at (919)560-4111 ext. 20285.

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