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In 2018, during an eight-week period that included most of March and all of April, University Park residents were asked to participate in a community survey to help City staff and City Council gauge current satisfaction, attitudes and expectations on a range of City services and programs.
Similar to polling conducted in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2015, the paper survey was inserted in monthly utility bills and mailed to all households. Consistent with participation levels since 2005, resident response was outstanding. 1,103 households completed the survey, for a total return rate of 15 percent. Although most chose to complete the survey by hand and return it using a self-addressed, postage paid envelope, online participation (accessed by using a secure password stamped on the front of the printed questionnaire) totaled 221.
The survey asked residents to rank services and concerns on a point scale of 1 to 5, ranging from “very dissatisfied” to “very satisfied.” On the key question of overall satisfaction with the services the City provides, of the 1,045 respondents who answered that question, 97 percent marked "very satisfied" or "satisfied." That is the highest figure ever recorded for that question.
Using that 1 to 5 point scale, residents were asked to circle the number that best describes their feelings to questions about a wide variety of services and programs. The general subject headings were:
In answer to the question how well has living in University Park met your expectations, 96 percent marked “very satisfied” or “satisfied.” 94 percent of respondents indicated they would recommend University Park as a place to live. City staff received high scores for public safety and for efforts to keep neighborhoods safe and secure. High scores were also the norm for a range of services from the landscaping maintenance and cleanliness of parks and playgrounds, to residential trash collection and recycling efforts.
Some dissatisfaction was registered in responses to questions under the Home Construction and Building Permits and Code Enforcement subject headings. There was also notable dissatisfaction in scores concerning the effectiveness of City regulations governing the size of new homes, and how those guidelines impact the community's quality of life.
City staff takes opportunities for improvement seriously. Following the 2015 survey, scores indicated the City could do a better job of informing residents about infrastructure repair work and resulting street and alley closures. In 2018, satisfaction numbers for that series of questions improved three to seven percentage points to register in the high 80's and low 90's. Likewise, in 2015 respondents were fairly critical of the City's online rental system for parks, tennis courts and athletic fields. In response, the Parks and Recreation Department implemented new software and reworked some guidelines. As a result, in 2018, satisfaction scores for those questions improved more than 20 points.
Notes on Summary Report -- 1,103 households participated in the 2018 survey. The figures listed in parenthesis in the PDF document show the number of respondents who choose to answer each question. The summary also uses "word clouds." In these illustrations, words that were mentioned more often in comment sections appear larger in size than words that were mentioned less often.