The City of Lacombe recently received the results of the 2019 Citizen Satisfaction Survey.
The survey, which was taken by 461 residents over the phone and through social media conducted by Yardstick Research, showed a level of general support for the services offered by the City of Lacombe — including 79 per cent of responders rating Lacombe as having a quality of life that was good or very good. The top factors for this quality of life rating included: small town atmosphere, friendly people and Lacombe’s historical buildings.
Mayor Grant Creasey was pleased to see support for the city, but cautioned against taking the results too literally.
“Overall I was pleased with the way the results came in in support of City personnel and City services. Unfortunately, these reports are very subjective and open to interpretation, so coming up with genuine results is difficult,” Creasey said.
The survey also showed that 44 per cent of respondents said they have received good or very good value for their tax dollars — a number Creasey hopes improves.
“A person would always like those numbers to be higher, but council made a commitment to hold tax increases to a maximum of the consumer price index and that is exactly what we intend to do. We will exhaust every avenue open to ensure we are successful in that regard,” Creasey said.
Twenty-nine per cent of responders said they were would prefer the City continue their inflation tax police, while another 29 per cent said they would be fine with tax rises that ensure the City’s current level of services was maintained. Eleven per cent of respondents said would be fine with reductions of service in order to allow for tax rate increases and 10 per cent said they allow tax increases to increase the level of City services.
The survey also showed that Lacombe residents often leave the City for shopping needs: 55 per cent of which was for clothing; eight per cent for food or grocers; four per cent for construction supplies and four per cent for shoes.
Creasey said the City is continuing to work to attract new business and shopping to Lacombe.
“I think if we turn back the clock a couple years, that was a significant issue around election time and I want everyone to know it is still an issue and we have been diligent in pursuing several different options,” he said.
“While we have had some positive movement, it is never fast enough to satisfy me and I am sure that holds true for the majority of our citizens.”
The survey also outlined respondents satisfaction with transportation in Lacombe, with 82 per cent saying they were satisfied with Lacombe as a driveable City. Travelling through walking paths and trails (75 per cent) and sidewalks (63 per cent) also scored higher; while cycling (48 per cent), public transit outside Lacombe (40 per cent), travelling with a disability (48 per cent) and public transit within Lacombe (36 per cent) all scored below 50 per cent.
Creasey this was an expected outcome.
“We are still a rural-based municipality and people have expectations of it being driveable and that is what we have here,” he said. “There are different expectations of larger municipalities and metropolitan areas, but it is important for people to understand that we are working on ways to improve and will continue to do so.”
Garbage service in Lacombe, despite the recent removal of curbside recycling pickup, scored highly among respondents — with a 93 per cent satisfaction rate. Creasey expects those numbers to get even better once the City has settled on a new recycling program/alternative.
“We have some concern over our blue box discontinuation. It is my hope those people will come to realize we made a very prudent and appropriate decision in that regard,” he said.
“Hopefully in the not-to-distant future we will have a new system that meets the needs of genuine recycling.”
More results of the survey can be found at: http://lacombe.ca/home/showdocument?id=12185.
“We always like to have as much appropriate information as we can to make good decisions. This is another example where we will use it as guide, but not a definitive one,” Creasey added.