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Results from the 2016 online resident survey are now available. Click here for the full report.
Westerville residents continue to express high satisfaction levels as measured in the 2016 online resident survey, with consistently high ratings for City programs and services. The survey was active online from early November - December 31, 2016, and responses increased by more than 32% from 2014 to 2016, with a total of 1,438 full and valid responses. Strategic Research Group (SRG), a Columbus-based survey research firm, was again selected by the City to conduct the community poll.
Ratings for City departments and staff continue to follow trends identified in resident surveys since 2005. Residents continue to agree that information is accessible, services meet their expectations and financial management meets expectations. In fact, 88% of residents state they are satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of services provided by the City.
“The resident survey is our report card,” said Westerville City Manager David Collinsworth. “We take residents’ opinions and feedback from this biennial effort and use it to examine the way we’re delivering our programs and services. We want to know how residents currently feel and how they feel over time about the same issues, so we’re not only looking at what they said late last year, but if the needle is moving in the right direction in terms of overall satisfaction and quality of life factors.”
Key Findings from the 2016 Survey Include:
|Dancers in Uptown Westerville|
• Westerville residents continue to express a positive tone about City services and programs, most commonly selecting words like “friendly,” “safe” or some variation of “family”/“family-friendly” to describe the community.
• When asked why they chose to live in Westerville, the most common reasons selected (in order): overall safety of the community, quality of City services and the family-friendly nature of the City.
• The “Most Important Public Safety” issue selection for residents (first choice of three) is “infrastructure and roadway maintenance.” “Fiscal management and responsibility” and “public safety and emergency management” were second and third-choice priorities, respectively.
• Residents say the most important public safety issue is “maintaining emergency response times,” followed closely by “routine patrol of residential areas.” Concern about “substance abuse and drug interdiction” increased notably (from 6.4% in 2014 to 11.3% in 2016) and ranked as the third most important issue for residents.
• But residents, on average, feel safe in Westerville. They feel most safe in their own homes, but rated feeling at least “safe” in Westerville as a whole, in individual neighborhoods (day and night), in parks and on bikeways and leisure paths.
Major infrastructure and roadway construction projects (S. State St. Improvement Project Phase II) were notable in the survey results...
|State and Schrock Construction|
• Approximately 72% of residents believe (agreed/ strongly agreed) the quality of Westerville’s infrastructure has improved in the last two years. That number declined from 83% in 2014 but was up from 69% in 2012.
• When asked if traffic flows on Westerville’s main arteries were improving, more than 67% respondents selected some level of disagreement with the statement.
• Yet, more than half of those surveyed believe Westerville’s overall traffic flow on main streets is as good as traffic flow on main streets in other Central Ohio suburbs. “We expected to see some public frustration in the survey results coming off nearly two full years of public construction in phase two of the S. State St. improvement project,” said Collinsworth.
“When we promised the residents we would improve the southern gateway corridor in 2008 and ultimately extend roadway and infrastructure improvements north, that was a multi-year commitment. The good news is we’re near the end of the major construction in that area, with Phase II expected to be complete in May.”
Residents took time to fill out a special section devoted to communication preferences.The results help City administration and communicators understand how to best reach residents with information, news and alerts about service, programs and opportunities...
|My Westerville App|
• Residents say they read City publications, and prefer them over the weekly community newspaper. The City website and social media accounts also have traction in reaching our intended audiences.
• The City website is most useful to residents when events, news, updates and current information on parks and recreation classes are easily accessible.
• Although awareness of the “My Westerville” app is not very widespread at this point and has been used for a variety of functions by those who had tried it.
Finally, residents appear generally supportive of business and economic development efforts in Westerville.
“The resident survey is our report card...We take residents’ opinions and feedback from this biennial effort and use it to examine the way we’re delivering our programs and services.”
-David Collinsworth, City Manager
• When asked if Westerville does a good job managing retail and business growth, more than 80% marked agree or strongly agree. Further, more than 78% said Westerville promotes a business-friendly environment.
• When it comes to tax breaks or financial incentives to attract new business, two out of three residents agree/ strongly agree the City should do so.
• On a related topic, more than 72% residents agree/ strongly agree that Westerville does a good job managing housing growth.
“Support from residents for business coming to and staying in Westerville is critical to the City’s long-term economic health,” said Collinsworth. “Residents seem to understand the balancing act that requires local investment to leverage growth and development in the business sector and that in the end, that investment pays dividends.”
Tracking survey trends since 2005, Westerville residents continue to express growing satisfaction in nearly every area of community life. Consistency is also seen in long-term views on traffic, which is considered a challenge and most commonly cited as residents’ chief complaint.
View Previous Resident Surveys: