College Station’s residents favorably rate the city’s fire, law enforcement and water services but have a dimmer view of its traffic management and business retention and support, according to the results of a resident satisfaction survey reviewed by the city’s council Thursday night.
Members of the College Station City Council received the results of a National Service Research (NSR) survey in which 23 city services were measured. The city received 1,236 responses — 380 mailed and 856 online — by the May 12 cut-off date. The city mailed the surveys March 25.
Fire services earned a 92% rating, with the city’s police force earning an 86% rate of satisfaction. Those numbers were slightly higher than peer city and statewide averages.
Twenty-four percent of College Station resident respondents gave the city an excellent or good rating on how it manages traffic congestion, down from 28% in 2016. Recent statewide survey data delivered an average of 43% satisfaction.
Colin Killian, the city’s public communications manager, presented the survey to the council Thursday night. He said NSR conducted similar services in 2012 and 2016. Killian said the number of respondents exceeded the city’s goal of 1,000 responses, and 22% of respondents were college students at Texas A&M and Blinn College.
“About nine in 10 respondents indicated that they would recommend College Station as a place to live,” Killian said to the council. “A response that showed a significant decline was when we asked whether they agreed with the statement ‘College Station is moving in the right direction as a community.’ 76% agree, which is well ahead of our benchmark cities, but that was a 9% drop from 2016.”
Killian said 95% of residents said they felt safe in their neighborhood, but remarked that it was “kind of puzzling” that 62% said crime was increasing, more than the 53% who said crime was increasing in 2016.
The survey has a margin of error of 2.8%, Killian said.
Respondent averages indicated that the five most important community characteristics to residents were traffic, medical and health care facilities and availability, the access to quality affordable housing, the community’s overall aesthetic appearance and job prospects.
Water, wastewater and electric services were all rated favorably by a majority of residents. The 83% who said the city has excellent or good water services outpaces the state average of 72%.
The city earned a 44% satisfaction rate about retaining and supporting businesses, and 63% of respondents said the city did a good or excellent job of attracting businesses and jobs.
Fifteen peer cities with populations of between 60,000 and 180,000 were identified, including Denton, Round Rock and The Woodlands. College Station officials said its April population estimate came in at 121,994 residents.
The peer cities’ average on traffic management satisfaction came in at 42%, near the statewide average but almost twice as high as the 24% satisfaction rate in College Station.
The city’s library services, which 77% of residents described as an important city service, earned a 72% rate of satisfaction, which was below peer and state averages of 84 and 83 percent, respectively.
Senior citizen services and adult recreation programs earned satisfaction rates of 61% and 58%, respectively. Those numbers were in line with peer and state averages.
Attracting tourism — which 56% of respondents rated as important — was something 62% of residents said the city does well.
Near the end of the meeting, several council members said they appreciated the chance to look at the survey data and the chance to be aware of resident praise and critique.
To view the survey results, visit www.cstx.gov/citizensurvey.