More than 70 percent of residents responding to a citizen satisfaction survey said they would like to see Dade City keep its brick streets and not pave over them, according to City Manager Billy Poe.
During this week’s commission meeting, Poe presented commissioners with results of the survey conducted by the University of South Florida’s Public Administration Department.
The survey was taken by sending 26 questions to 1,000 customers of the water department. The customers were selected at random. The questions this year were divided into five different sections: Citizen Satisfaction, Neighborhood Restoration, Stormwater Management, Road Improvement and Downtown. Nineteen percent of the survey recipients responded.
“Overall, the findings are positive,” Poe told commissioners.
The utilities department received the highest rating with 82.6 percent of the people responding that they were satisfied. The police department ranked second with 76.9 percent and the parks department at 59.2 percent. City government received a grade of 52.1 percent of citizens being satisfied while 15.8 percent said they were dissatisfied. Street maintenance received a 53.6 percent satisfaction rate, building department/code enforcement, 43.7 percent and community development, 33.7 percent.
Poe reported that “nearly 41.1 percent of residents are satisfied with the commission and 47.3 percent are satisfied with the city manager.”
Though community development received a 33.7 percent satisfaction rate, Poe attributed the score to residents not be familiar with the department’s responsibilities.
In the questions regarding that department’s work, 84.2 percent of respondents agree that neighborhood clean-ups will help stimulate the local housing market and 76.2 percent think the city should make revitalization of neighborhoods a priority. Blighted homes should be dealt with, according to 25.6 percent of people, and 19.5 percent said downtown buildings should be a focus.
Stormwater improvements are needed according to 59.5 percent of those surveyed, but only 29.5 percent say they are willing to pay a monthly fee, Poe reported. “When asked about a reasonable fee to be charged, 53.2 percent responded ‘do not charge a fee’ with 25.8 percent considering $2 to $4 to be a reasonable fee,” he said.
Road improvement was considered a priority for 82.1 percent of respondents, with 34.2 percent considering the roads average, 25.3 percent considering them good and 22.6 percent considering them in poor condition.
Responding to questions about what types of services they would like to see downtown, 28.3 percent said they would like more restaurants, 26.8 percent want festivals, and 23.6 percent support concerts.
The major challenges facing Dade City today were listed in order: “20.9 percent believe there needs to be more employment opportunities,” Poe said, “while 13.5 percent believe downtown parking is a major challenge. Meanwhile, 14.5 percent believe crime prevention and police services are most important. Insufficient recreational facilities and infrastructure improvements each received 12 percent.”
Poe explained that he is contacted each year by USF about doing a survey. He speaks to the class to educate them about Dade City and then the city staff develops questions. After the survey is completed, the results are sent back to the class for analysis and then Poe meets with them for a report that he brings back to the commission.