The city team is excited to share that we received some significantly higher positive ratings in this year’s citizen survey about Battle Creek, and city services in particular, as compared to 2015.
The city again worked with The National Citizen Survey, through the National Research Center, of Boulder, Colo. While the city customized a small number of questions to seek input on particular issues, the majority of the questions remain the same, allowing officials to make meaningful comparisons between the 2015 and 2018 surveys.
Overall, ratings for Battle Creek remained stable between 2015 and 2018. Some of the notable trends are:
- Within Community Characteristics – related to issues like safety, the economy, recreation and wellness, and natural/built environment – we saw increased ratings related to mobility and community neighborliness. Within mobility, neighbors rated higher travel by public transportation, public parking, and availability of paths and walking trails.
- Most of our ratings increases this year were for services and amenities the city provides. Neighbors said they were particularly more pleased with services like street repair, street cleaning and snow removal; garbage collection, recycling, and drinking water; sewer, storm drainage and utility billing; and city services overall.
- Neighbors gave the city higher marks in being honest, treating all neighbors fairly, and for customer service. City leaders are celebrating with their teams a 10 percent jump in the rating of the city’s customer service.
- Some of the decreases noted in this year’s survey are that fewer neighbors reported being in good health, fewer reported that they stock supplies for an emergency, and fewer had plans to remain in the city for the next five years.
While there always is room for improvement, city leaders are encouraged by these 2018 results, and the changes since 2015.
“We are incredibly proud of the growth over these three years in our City of Battle Creek team,” said City Manager Rebecca Fleury. “We always are looking for ways to improve our customer service, and improve the way we provide our programs and services to our neighbors in the community; this year’s National Citizen Survey results give us a way to measure how well we have done this since 2015.
“I am encouraged by the confidence from our neighbors, and we will continue to take the input from the survey, and the other ways we engage with the community, to always be better service providers and stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
The 2018 survey was mailed to a random sampling of 3,000 city addresses. About 5 percent of those were returned as undeliverable or vacant, leaving 2,837 households receiving the survey. Of those, 568 completed the survey, giving us a response rate of 20 percent. The survey later in the process was posted online for anyone to complete, and saw a response of 407.
Something new this year was that the survey was available in Spanish, and the three Burmese dialects of Falam, Hakha, and Tedim. Instructions in these languages were on the random sample mailings, allowing neighbors to complete the survey online in their language of choice. The open, online survey also gave neighbors the option to choose one of these languages.
Only one neighbor completed the survey in one of the four additional languages – one web-based survey was completed in Spanish. Officials hope that we may reach additional neighbors who primarily speak other languages in the future, using additional promotional methods.
The results reports are available on the city’s website at www.battlecreekmi.gov/citizensurvey. Reports from previous surveys also are available.
Stay tuned to the city’s Facebook (City of Battle Creek, MI Government) and Nextdoor social media accounts for more of our stories pulled from this year’s citizen survey. Thank you to every neighbor who participated, and to the Battle Creek Community Foundation, for their support!