Kalamazoo MI – One of the great things about the City of Kalamazoo is that there is an earnest desire to see the city improve and grow. Part of that process involves surveying the community. The other neat thing about Kalamazoo is that you don’t have to hunt and hunt for reports that are viewed by Community leadership. The city’s website has a great search that makes finding things simple.
Jerri Barnett-Moore, Deputy City Manager for the City of Kalamazoo requested that
Perspectives Consulting Group, Inc. conduct a community survey for the city. By 2015, the City of Kalamazoo hopes to create a sustainable community as part of their vision for the city. To help reach this goal, the city wants to evaluate the perceptions of its residents in the following areas: community building/neighborhood development, economic vitality/fi scal stewardship, environmental stewardship, and responsive and responsible government.
A community survey was also conducted in 2008. Comparisons have been made for questions that remained consistent from year-to-year.
To collect information from the city’s residents about their perceptions, and to have a representative sample of Kalamazoo residents, a telephone survey was chosen as the most appropriate method to collect data.
The information needs and objectives for this project include:
1) Measure the balance among the needs of the environment, the economy, and the social
needs of Kalamazoo residents
2) Measure awareness and identify perceptions about the quality of services provided by the
City of Kalamazoo
3) Develop benchmarking data to be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the services
provided to city residents
4) Understand the public perception of the City of Kalamazoo
5) Understand the opportunities for, and effectiveness of, communication between residents
and the city
6) Evaluate the city’s progress and perception in creating a sustainable community for
So, here is a paraphrase of the summary of the results of the The City of Kalamazoo 2010 Community Survey. If you would like to download the entire City of Kalamazoo Community Survey, click here.
The survey was completed by 800 residents of the City of Kalamazoo. Every respondent was 18 years of age or older, lived within the city limits of Kalamazoo, and did not work for the City of Kalamazoo. Highlights of the survey included:
Of the 800 respondents, half were female and half were male. All of the respondents were at least 18 years old and lived within eight specifi ed sections of the City of Kalamazoo. Just over half of the respondents had a household income below $50,000, and the majority were either Caucasian/white or African-American/black. Only half of the respondents were currently employed (full-time, part-time, or self-employed) and the majority of the respondents owned their own home and lived in a house or
apartment/condominium. When asked how many years respondents lived in the City of Kalamazoo, two-thirds of respondents had lived there for 10 or more years and did not have children under the age of 18 living in their household. Interestingly, over ninety percent of respondents were registered voters.
The top three things respondents liked about living in Kalamazoo included: convenience, schools, and size/small town; however, the respondents felt that roads, crime/drugs, and employment/jobs needed to be improved. The top issues overall facing all neighborhoods in the City of Kalamazoo included:
crime, streets, and decreased property values. Close to half of the respondents were pleased with the way city government was performing its duties overall. The respondents who were not pleased with the City of Kalamazoo overall indicated that it was because the city services were low quality and there was no communication with community leaders. Among all of the respondents, the top-rated performance areas included: appearance and maintenance of parks in the city, and leaf pick-up.
Three-quarters of the respondents were confi dent that Public Safety would protect them and their family. Over half of the respondents rated Kalamazoo’s Public Safety Department’s responsiveness andcommunity involvement as excellent, while only one-third of the respondents rated their race relations as excellent.
Only one-quarter of respondents had contact with a City of Kalamazoo employee in the past year.
Of the 188 respondents who had direct contact with a city employee in the past year, the majority received a prompt and professional response from city staff, and received effi cient and effective services that met their needs.
The 800 respondents most strongly supported freezing staff salaries, deferring capital projects, and renegotiating union contracts to reduce pay or benefi ts to help balance the City of Kalamazoo budget.
Interestingly, two-thirds of the respondents felt it was acceptable for public safety offi cers to not respond to all calls, or to not respond immediately because there were other more important calls. The majority of the respondents felt the City of Kalamazoo should continue to provide regional support for KVET (Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team). The respondents were then asked questions regarding an increase in property taxes. The respondents were most likely to support an increase in taxes to maintainsupport for police/fire and street maintenance.
Over one-third of respondents had visited a city park six or more times in the past year, and over half of the respondents would consider contributing to a fundraising effort to redevelop these parks.
2010 Community Survey City of Kalamazoo
The majority of the 800 respondents had access to the Internet. The majority of the 638 respondents who had access to the Internet would be willing to sign up online for City of Kalamazoo programs or services, pay a city bill online, and apply for permits online. However, only half of the 638 respondents who had access to the Internet would be willing to fi le a police report for minor incidents online.
Mail and e-mail were the most common ways respondents would prefer to receive information from the City of Kalamazoo.
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