Citizen satisfaction survey a report card to guide City
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 12:23 pm
Airdrie’s citizen satisfaction survey kicked off on Jan. 8 and will run until Jan. 16.
The phone survey is a 20-minute questionnaire conducted by Banister Research Group from Edmonton, that is aimed at creating a report card for City staff to identify what issues are top priorities for Airdrie residents.
Five categories are covered in the survey: quality of services, efficiency of services, managing community affairs, value for tax dollar and managing community growth and development.
Questions are either open-ended, when respondents can offer their opinion, or on a ratings scale, when a specific City service may be given a ranking between one and 10.
Dorian Kachur, Airdrie Business Strategy team leader, has been involved with this survey for 13 years and says that it’s purpose is two-fold. It is designed to not only get an idea of where the City is, but where it is going.
“This is a report card for our staff, it lets us know how we’re doing in terms of the services we provide,” said Kachur. “It also helps us identify what the issues are with our citizens and how we can get the most bang for their buck.”
Last year, the city scored 96 per cent satisfaction based on the response from those surveyed.
This year, Kachur says the City is looking to get response from 400 residents in order to obtain an accurate sample size that is representative of the population as a whole.
“We use our census data in this as well so that we’re getting a fair representation of our city,” said Kachur. “We don’t want to survey just one demographic, the survey affords us the chance to hear from a broad selection of people.”
Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown said that the survey is a great starting point in order to gage the job done by City staff and council, though he is careful not to invest too highly in the results.
“It’s really a guide is what it is, it’s not entirely cut and dry, and to suggest that the opinions of 400 people is representative of a city of 50,000 is a bit unreasonable,” said Brown. “Everyone in this city has their own specific issues that this survey might not necessarily address.”
The survey maintains a specific set of questions to gage City services such as parks and recreation facilities, police, fire and emergency services; it also contains questions on recent topical issues that are at the frontline for City council.
“A few years ago organics pick-up was one of the topical questions we asked on our survey, and you look now, it was just recently approved by council, so your opinions do count and make a difference,” said Kachur, who explained that the citizen satisfaction survey plays an important role in the development of the City’s strategic plan.
Brown said it’s integral that the City is made aware of the big issues to residents, though he feels it may impact the score on this year’s survey.
“This winter has been a crazy one with all of the snow that we’ve had, and I personally have heard from residents that there’s a lot of frustration around snow removal,” said Brown. “Last year when the survey went out, we didn’t have any snow so it wasn’t an issue, so this could impact our score, I’m interested to see what the results will be.”
Brown said he supports the survey while maintaining his open door policy and encouraging residents to come forward with their issues.
“There are a lot of details in the survey that aren’t covered,” said Brown.
“The more open houses we have and the more residents communicate with me through social media and come out to council meetings for public question period, the more it will give us something to build on and help us to work toward the future.”