Since 2000 the City of Rolla has participated in a biennial citizen attitude survey developed by ETC Institute out of Olathe, Kan. The survey identifies 1,200 Rolla households for possible inclusion in the survey and then randomly selects 400 households to participate in the 20-minute telephone survey.
Chris Tatham, ETC president, presented the findings from the spring survey to the Rolla City Council at a recent council meeting.
Tatham summarized that the purpose of the survey is to objectively assess citizen satisfaction with major city services, to trend the city’s performance over time and to compare Rolla’s performance with other communities throughout Missouri and Kansas.
One of the primary series of questions focused on perceptions of the quality of life, overall image of the city and the value received for tax dollars provided. Compared to other represented communities Rolla performed very well with a 70 percent to 80 percent positive rating on each.
The survey results go on to report that Rolla is setting the standard for service delivery, in particular in customer service, compared to other communities. The survey went on to reveal that police and fire services, environmental (trash) services and utility services were also top performers.
In the area of parks and recreation the city’s walking and biking trails, the number of parks and outdoor athletic fields were top rated services. Fees charged for recreation programs were the only area where the city saw a decline in citizen satisfaction despite significant cuts to the parks and recreation budget.
The city also scored well in providing information about city issues services and programs, and the city’s leadership also received their highest scores since participating in the survey.
While there were plenty of accolades for city employees and the services they provide, the survey also identifies areas of desired improvement. Maintenance of city streets and facilities and traffic congestion continue to be the top two areas deemed most important to citizens with code enforcement and parks and recreation following. The city council relies on the survey in directing limited resources in future budgets.
In addition to a number of standardized questions the survey allows a few local questions/issues. The city took the opportunity to get feedback on the current smoking ordinance (generally strong support), the feasibility of renewing the park sales tax with a lesser sales tax (generally positive support), and the possibility of a local use tax on internet sales (little support).
I would encourage all residents to review the entire survey report which can be found on the city’s website at www.rollacity.org/admin/citizen-survey.pdf.
Have a wonderful Fourth of July and don’t forget to visit the Lions Club Carnival from July 3-6. And don’t forget that while vendors are allowed to sell fireworks between June 30 and July 7, residents are only able to discharge fireworks inside the city limits between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight from July 1-5. Please be safe and particularly courteous to your neighbors!