The City of Norman conducted its first DirectionFinder® Survey this summer to assess satisfaction among residents with the delivery of major city services and to help determine priorities for the community. ETC Institute, a recognized national leader in the design and administration of market research for local governments, conducted the survey. ETC Institute maintains national and regional benchmarking data that provides comparative norms for citizen satisfaction with local governmental services.
A seven-page survey was mailed to a random sample of households in the City of Norman in July 2009. Of the households that received a survey, 476 completed the survey by phone and 369 returned it by mail for a total of 845 completed surveys. There were no statistically significant differences in the results of the survey based on the method of administration (phone vs. mail). The results for the random sample of households have a 95% level of confidence with a precision of at least +/-3.5 %.
City Manager Steve Lewis noted that surveys are used to obtain information regarding citizens’ satisfaction with city services and to provide a tool for informed decision making. "Local governments use citizen surveys as a resource whenever questions are raised about what the community thinks about particular issues. Surveys aid in strategic planning and enable the city to track the quality of service delivery over time" commented Lewis.
"This survey provides Council and City Staff with an excellent barometer of concerns in the community. We need to hear from citizens about what we are doing well and where we can improve our services. The results of this survey will be invaluable as we work on our budget and fine-tune programs to meet citizen expectations" said Mayor Cindy Rosenthal. "I really appreciate the time and thoughtful participation of our citizens who completed this survey. Their input will make Norman a stronger community" commented the Mayor.
Residents surveyed were generally satisfied with City services. Ninety-one percent (91%) of the residents surveyed were satisfied (rating of 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale) with the quality of fire services; 92% were satisfied with residential trash collection services, 78% were satisfied with the quality of parks and recreation programs and facilities, and 76% were satisfied with the overall quality of police services. The areas that residents thought should receive the most emphasis from the City of Norman over the next two years were: the overall maintenance of City streets and sidewalks, the management of traffic flow on City streets, and the management of stormwater runoff by the City.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of the residents were satisfied with the appearance of the City, 79% were satisfied with the overall quality of services provided by the City, and 77% were satisfied with the public schools and associated programs. Eighty-eight percent (88%) were satisfied with the quality of local fire protection services, 89% were satisfied with how quickly fire personnel respond and 83% were satisfied with how quickly EMS personnel respond. Residents thought the public safety services that should receive the most additional emphasis over the next two years were the frequency of police officers patrolling in neighborhoods and the City’s efforts to prevent crime.
According to the ETC Institute, the City of Norman rated above the national average for cities with a population between 20,000 and 199,999 in 24 of the 36 areas that were assessed. Some of the areas in which Norman is setting the standard for performance (by rating at least 10% above the national average) include overall quality of customer service from the City, City efforts to keep citizens informed on local issues, efforts by the City to prevent crime, accuracy of information/assistance given by City staff, how quickly City staff responds to requests and Norman as a place to live.
Ninety-six percent (96%) of those surveyed rated as excellent or good the City of Norman as a place to live, 94% rated it as an excellent or good place to raise children, and 82% rated the City as an excellent or good place to work.
Complete results of the survey may be downloaded by clicking HERE.
This report contains:
- A summary of the methodology for administering the survey and major findings
- Charts depicting the overall results for the questions on the survey
- Benchmarking data that shows how the results for Norman compare to other cities
- Importance-satisfaction analysis
- GIS maps that show the results of selected questions as maps of the City
- Tables that show the results for each question on the survey
- A copy of the survey instrument