You’re doing fine, Oklahoma City.
At least, that’s what the majority of you think, according to the 2012 Oklahoma City Citizen Survey prepared by the ETC Institute.
The purpose of the survey was to see just how satisfied OKC residents were with the way the city was conducting its business. It’s a yearly survey, and is partly designed to “assess citizen satisfaction with the delivery of major city services and to help determine priorities for the community as part of the City’s ongoing planning process.”
In other words, see if the city is working now and moving in the right direction.
Perhaps some of you remember it. It was six pages long and was mailed to about 3,000 households. A week later, recipients got a phone call to see if the survey had been received and completed; or, if not, to ask whether recipients wanted to finish the survey at that time, right over the phone.
Of the 3,000 mailed out, 1,200 were completed (probably by the same people who bother to vote in elections. Think of it: 1,200 get to chart the direction Oklahoma City will go in.)
Here’s the bottom line: 66% of those with an opinion are satisfied overall with services the city provides; 87% think OKC is a good place to live; 82% think it’s a good place to work; 80% think it’s a good place to raise kids; and 72% think the city’s image is either “excellent” or “good.” When asked if the city was moving in the right direction, 83% thought it was.
Of services provided, here’s the breakdown: 88% were satisfied with the quality of fire services; 75% liked the ambulance services; 68% liked the quality of our police and the service they provide (cops always get ranked lower than firemen. After all, everyone knows that firemen save people and cops arrest people, right?). Other services and their performance satisfaction levels were residential trash collection services (89%); water service (84%); and bulky item pickup/removal services (83%). Drawing the least satisfaction in the utility division were the speed of services such as repairs and starting of service (65%).
This next statistic should come as a surprise to nobody. Of those surveyed, only 25% were satisfied with the condition of city streets. It should not surprise anyone to know that most residents think this demands the most attention from the city in the future.
Ranking only slightly better was the level of satisfaction with the city’s public transit system (27%). Third lowest was the satisfaction level with traffic flow and how easy/difficult it is to get around town (47%) (personally, I think the last number is a bit high. If I’m being honest, the system of traffic lights and signs around our neighborhood is about as well organized as a plate of spaghetti: just as messy, and not nearly as satisfying.).
But no one’s perfect. The bottom line is this: There were 12 areas in which Oklahoma City ranked “significantly above” the national average (in cities having more than 250,000 residents): How well the City is planning growth; Bulky item pick up/removal services; Overall quality of City services provided; Customer service; City communication with the public; As a place to raise children; Residential trash collection services; Flow of traffic/ease of getting around town (so it’s worse somewhere else); As a place to live; As a place to work; As a place to retire; and Recycling services.
So we’re like a lot of other places: We have it pretty good. We don’t have a lot of major complaints, but we’d like things to be better.
But at least we can point to something to support our belief that we’ve got a pretty darned good city here.