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2003 Clearwater Citizen Survey

2003 Citizen Survey Results Summary
9/15/2003

The Public Communications Department conducts a yearly citizen survey to determine the satisfaction with city services, customer service and overall direction. Some highlights of the survey are below or you can view the entire 2003 Citizen Satisfaction Survey.

You can also view the verbatim answers and raw data (2 MB PDF file).

Clearwater residents' opinions of the quality of living remained above 90%, statistically the same as 2002. Opinions regarding Clearwater as a place to make a decent living wage remained at 58%, the same as 2002. Two new questions regarding the importance of redeveloping the beaches and downtown provided very interesting results. 80% of respondents felt that downtown redevelopment was important, and 75% felt beach redevelopment was important. 75% also felt that the development of a downtown arts district was important.

The most important issues facing Clearwater were cited as budget resources/taxes (23%) and downtown redevelopment (18.8%), both similar to 2002 results. One of the most compelling shifts in this area was the declining opinion that traffic congestion and traffic control were major issues, falling from 32.8% in 2002 to 16% in 2003. This could be directly related to the increased focus on traffic calming and enforcement placed over the last year. The feeling that water resources were an important issue also fell dramatically, from 24.8% to just 7%, likely a result of recent rainfall and talk of relaxing water restrictions by SWFWMD. Beach parking as an issue also fell from 15.5% to 4.8%.

Clearwater residents continued to feel that the city is supportive of its neighborhoods. Perceptions of support in the areas of code enforcement and traffic enforcement had significant increases, up 7.1% and 5.1% respectively. Approximately 4 in 5 residents felt the city was supportive of neighborhoods with respect to libraries, recreation facilities and neighborhood parks. Support for stormwater issues remained lowest, at 65.6%.

58.4% of residents feel that the city is moving in the right direction, comparable to 2002 results. 21.8% felt that the city was not moving in the right direction, also comparable to 2002 levels. The top three reasons for dissatisfaction with the city’s direction were disagreement with priorities (24.8%), mismanagement of money (22.9%) and progress moving to slow (19.3%).

Significantly more respondents felt that the city was adequately balancing infrastructure with redevelopment, up 15% from 2002 to 57%. This could be directly linked to the list of projects undertaken or completed in the last 18 months – Memorial Causeway, North Greenwood Recreation Center, Main Library, North Greenwood Library, Bright House Networks Field, new water treatment facility, Sand Key fire station, Northwest Fire Station etc. The majority (82.9%) of negative respondents felt that the city focused too much on redevelopment.

For both beach and downtown redevelopment, about on in four felt that they should be financed with a balance of public and private funding. About one in three felt that they should be financed through mostly private finding with public incentives. And about one in five felt that they should be financed by mostly public funding. There was no consensus on the source of public funding, with statistically similar numbers supporting a bond issue/tax increase, bond issue/reduction of service and bond issue only.

36.2% felt that it was acceptable to cut city services in order to balance the budget and not raise taxes. 28.8% felt that this was not acceptable. 32.8% indicated that it depended on what services were cut.

As in 2002, a majority of respondents did not participate in providing public input in the last year (56.6%). Most participation levels were similar to 2002, but use of the city’s website as a venue for public participation dropped from 25.3% to 19.8%. Redesign of the site, and increasing the amount of interactive, current and topical information on the site should influence these numbers in the coming year.

About half of the respondents had contacted a city department or facility in the last year. The vast majority (94.5%) stated they were treated courteously, up from 88.9% in 2002. One in three who called with a problem stated that their problem was not resolved quickly. Nine in ten respondents were satisfied with the level of city services they receive, statistically the same as 2002. Those who were not satisfied with their level of services generally felt that there was a lack of responsiveness on the part of city staff.

91% had visited a city facility in the last year. The top five were all recreation-related: libraries (71.2%), Coachman Park (63.6%), other parks (55.8%), recreation centers (49.2%) and the Marina (37%). 75.1% of mainland residents visited the beach in the last year.

54.6% of respondents felt that the city was providing enough information regarding major infrastructure and redevelopment activities. Major non-city sources of information for these activities were the newspaper (69%), TV news (52.6%) and word-of-mouth (18.4%). Of city information sources, the new C-News advertisement (20.6%) was the top sources, followed by C-View (18.8%) and utility bill stuffers (17.4%).

Six in ten respondents had access to the Internet, and nine in ten indicated they would use at least one of a variety of city services if offered online. Respondents were most interested in accessing public records (75.8%), followed by recreation program registration (68.4%), requests for service (65.3%), accessing public meeting notices/agendas (65%), signing up for e-mail newsletters (63%) and accessing police reports and code violations (63%). The lowest level of interest was shown in streaming video of meetings, at 33.7%.