In the spring, the City sent out a survey asking residents to share their thoughts on City services and the quality of life here in Newport News. The 2016 survey is part of the City's initiative to increase accountability and engagement with residents. The survey results will be used to help measure current performance in delivering services to residents as well as identify community strengths and opportunities for improvement. The results will also help City leaders develop an action plan for the future.
During the November 22nd Work Session, the City Council was briefed on the results of the 2016 Community Survey. Nanci Glassman, President of Continental Research Associates (CRA), discussed the highlights of the first in a bi-annual survey series.
City leaders wanted to know if community expectations for City services are being met. The results provide initial baseline data to compare the City’s progress in over fifty identified services. The survey also provides the opportunity to follow resident perceptions of other important community characteristics. CRA did an outstanding job of insuring representation for of all segments and geographic areas of our community. Over 3,000 randomly selected households received a personalized postcard and/or phone call as a request to complete the survey. A significant response of 800 households participated through a password protected online portal or over the phone with trained interviewers. Thirty-five percent of those responding were contacted on their cell phone, which represented almost a third of Newport News households that do not have a land line connection.
Traditionally, the target number for satisfaction with local government is a rating of 80% satisfaction or above. Of those citizens responding, two key results showed that nearly nine out of ten residents were satisfied with the overall quality of City services, rating that at 89.4%. Customer service received from City employees received a satisfaction rating of 89.6%. Other significant starting points receiving more than an 80% satisfaction rating included neighborhood cleanliness; sense of connections in the community; and my neighborhood as a place to live.
The Council also heard about the opportunities for growth and consideration as residents rated eleven items below 70%. These opportunities for improvement included satisfaction with efforts to prevent crime, condition of city roads, and traffic flow. Ms. Glassman reminded Council that while all three are traditionally low in most localities, the survey has suggested a more focused attention may be warranted here in Newport News.
The link to the work session presentation and full survey report can be found on the City Manager’s webpage
. Other opportunities to provide feedback and discuss our community needs are being planned for 2017 and the next community survey will be conducted in 2018.