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Municipal Opinion Surveys/Municipal Satisfaction Surveys
Community Opinion Surveys/Community Satisfaction Surveys

Enhancing Community Government Performance and Voter Satisfaction

This article presents the best way for your city or town to learn from residents about their satisfaction with services and important issues: conducting municipal opinion surveys/municipal satisfaction surveys (community opinion surveys/community satisfaction surveys).

Assessing Satisfaction With Municipal Services and Municipal Government -- and Being Responsive to Voters

Many cities and towns are run well, some aren't. All cities and towns can be governed more effectively, regardless of how well they may already be governed. A large part of governing cities and towns effectively is to listen to residents and to be responsive to them, taking action where appropriate.
Municipal opinion surveys/municipal satisfaction surveys enable residents and business owners/leaders to share their perceptions and suggestions about municipal government, specific public issues, and the various services provided to them with their mayor/city manager and city/town council. The results of municipal opinion surveys/municipal satisfaction surveys can also be shared with residents and business owners/leaders.
Mayors, city managers and city/town council members often have to make important decisions with limited information and input from residents and businesses. Residents often do not have the time or inclination to attend town council meetings to express their opinions. Unfortunately, as countless mayors and city/town council members have experienced too late, the first opportunity constituents often have to voice their opinion is in the voting booth, unless municipal surveys are conducted first and the results are acted upon.
Municipal opinion surveys/community opinion surveys are designed to gather perceptions about many important issues and to aggregate the results to get the pulse of the city/town. Surveys are usually customized to meet the information needs of municipal leaders.
Mayors and town councils are able to learn from municipal opinion survey/community opinion survey results and establish priorities and budgets based on feedback from residents, taxpayers and businesses. Municipal opinion surveys/community opinion surveys provide an easy, proactive and very cost-effective way for municipal government leaders to gather feedback and suggestions from and be more responsive to all of their constituents.

Municipal Opinion Survey/Community Opinion Survey Metrics

Municipal opinion survey/community opinion survey ratings provide a clear picture of city and town resident satisfaction. Voters' comments and suggestions provide actionable information and insight for achieving results and being responsive to voters.
The following are some of the municipal services and issues that can be included in municipal opinion surveys/community opinion surveys:
  • Overall satisfaction with the wide range of services provided
  • Adequacy and maintenance of public recreational facilities
  • Availability and effectiveness of youth programs
  • Road maintenance and street cleaning
  • Parking availability
  • Trash, snow and leaf removal
  • Police, Fire Department and EMS performance
  • Effectiveness of traffic control
  • Effectiveness of schools
  • Responsiveness of the mayor and town council
  • Adequate public notice of important issues/decisions
  • Responsiveness of zoning board and enforcement of zoning regulations
  • Effectiveness of attracting and facilitating/supporting businesses
  • Results broken down by resident and business demographics

Examining Municipal Opinion Survey/Community Opinion Survey Results by Resident Demographics

We recommend including demographic questions in municipal opinion surveys/community opinion surveys, enabling residents to identify the section of the city or town where they live, their age range and other pertinent demographic information. This makes it possible to get survey results reports not only for the city or town overall, but also by demographic criteria.

Reasons for Conducting Municipal Opinion Surveys/Community Opinion Surveys

Municipal opinion surveys/community opinion surveys provide significant benefits for mayors, city managers, city and town councils and voters:
  • Enable residents to easily and cost-effectively voice their opinions and suggestions
  • Enable elected and appointed officials and municipal managers to be more responsive to residents
  • Municipal/community priorities and budgets can better reflect the opinions of voters
  • Surveys let residents know their opinions are valued
  • Taking action on municipal survey feedback increases popularity of mayors/city managers and city/town councils
  • Increase payback on municipal budget dollars
The best way to understand the value of municipal opinion surveys/community opinion surveys is to look at the results from an actual survey:
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