Commission will review findings at March 27 meeting
Results from the City of St. Augustine’s annual Citizen Survey are in and it should be no surprise that 85% of respondents rated the quality of life as good or excellent, and about 9 in 10 indicated that mobility should be an important area on which to focus. Additionally, just as in last year’s survey, the community identified the area’s natural environment as a top priority.
The survey is an important first step as the city reviews its strategic goals and begins to build next year’s budget. An overview of the survey’s key findings will be presented to the St. Augustine City Commission at its next regular meeting, Monday, March 27 (click here to see the PowerPoint presentation). The meeting starts at 5:00pm in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King St., and may be seen live on GTV/Comcast channel 3, or on-line at www.CityStAugTV.com.
The 170-question survey was conducted in January and February of this year by National Citizen Survey (NCS) of Boulder, CO, a leading provider of public sector research and evaluation. A total of 2,775 surveys were mailed to a cross section sampling of the community, with 202 being returned unopened and the remaining 2,573 being delivered. Of that number, 888, or nearly 35%, were completed and returned. With the additional 367 that were completed on-line, the total response to the survey was 1,255. The margin of error for the survey is 3%.
The Community Livability Report section of the 2017 St. Augustine Citizen Report provides an overview of specific findings.
The survey measured community livability in three general areas: Community Characteristics, Governance, and Participation. Each of these broad areas were rated by respondents across eight facets: built environment, community engagement, economy, education and enrichment, mobility, natural environment, recreation and wellness, and safety.
Along with many generic questions that might apply to any city, the survey asked a half dozen custom questions specific to St. Augustine, including ones relating to mobility, cultural and special events, and ways the community participates in its local government.
The results are also broken down by five geographic areas of the city: Davis Shores, Downtown, North City, Uptown and West US 1. By having responses to specific questions categorized by area, it is possible to see how topics are viewed across neighborhoods with both varying and similar responses.
Gathering the community’s input from the grassroots level is an essential first step in the development of next fiscal year’s budget. Information from the survey will guide the City Commission in its review of the city’s strategic goals. Then, with clearly identified goals, a budget will be assembled building on areas of progress and addressing areas that remain in need of attention. The 2017/2018 Fiscal Year begins on October 1. For a full schedule of meetings related to the 2017-2018 budget, click here.
Sampling of responses to custom questions
In addition to the general questions that might apply to any city, the survey included custom questions specific to St. Augustine, including ones relating to mobility, cultural and special events and how the community participates in its local government. Here are a few of the findings:Regarding mobility:
- Over 90% support improvements to pedestrian and bicycle mobility and safety
- Over 90% support traffic flow adjustments during peak hours and events
- Over 90% support increasing the use of shuttles to reduce congestion downtown
- 70% support the temporary closing of streets in high tourist areas
- Over 60% oppose increasing hours of parking regulation
- Over 80% believe the city should financially support or produce musical, art and other cultural events
- 50% believe the amount of events at Francis Field is about right
- 26% would prefer more events
- 24% would prefer fewer events
- Over 70% feel that engagement with city government would increase if an app were available
- Over 30% have watched or attended a city meeting in the last 12 months