Staunton: 2019 Citizen Survey results now available

stauntonStaunton residents are happy with the quality of life, the city’s appearance, aren’t so happy with their taxes.

We learn this and more from the 2019 Citizen Survey, which the city released Wednesday.

Among highlights from the survey respondents:

  • 89 percent rated the quality of life in Staunton as good or excellent
  • 83 percent rated the ease of travel as good or excellent
  • 83 percent rated the city’s overall appearance as good or excellent
  • 75 percent rated housing availability and affordability as good or fair
  • 52 percent said city taxes are “about right”

“We appreciate the robust response from our citizens who took the time to share their thoughts through the survey, and we are very pleased with the overall positive ratings of the city’s services and the quality of life we enjoy in Staunton,” Mayor Carolyn Dull said.  “These results, in combination with community feedback gained through other methods, will be critical in informing future decision making about city programs and services.”

The survey also revealed several areas with opportunities for improvement including recycling, sidewalks and crosswalk signals, bike lanes and trails, traffic flow and road repair, and youth activities among others.

The survey was conducted citywide by the City Manager’s Office and Dr. Laura van Assendelft at Mary Baldwin University. The survey results were presented to Staunton City Council on Feb. 27, and the Citizen Survey Full Report is available on the city website at www.staunton.va.us/citizensurvey.

The City of Staunton previously conducted citizen surveys in 2002 and 2005 to capture citizens’ overall opinions about city services and the quality of life in Staunton.  Feedback from the first two surveys, which were focused on youth and senior programs respectively, brought about a number of new initiatives and activities including the addition of a skate park and dog park at Gypsy Hill Park, an improved public transit system and online options for tax and utility bill payments.

The 2019 survey was broader in scope, evaluating citizen perspectives on a variety of topics including quality of life, housing, transportation, safety, taxes, governance, community engagement, education, and services.  The city piloted an online survey, with paper copies available as an option, and the survey was heavily promoted through mailings and social media.  This methodology produced almost twice as many respondents as the earlier surveys, with a total of 928 completed responses.

It is important to note that due to the methodology used the results do not reflect a true random sample, so the results are not necessarily representative of Staunton’s demographic groups.  In particular, whites were over-represented despite efforts to encourage minority participation in the survey.

“The survey results represent important feedback from the sizable group of citizens who chose to respond and will be useful as a source of input on a wide variety of topics.  We also remain committed to our ongoing engagement with all demographic groups in the city to make sure that we continue to hear and consider a broad range of perspectives,” City Manager Steve Rosenberg said.

The survey will be included on future City Council work session agendas, allowing for a more in-depth discussion of the results.

 


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