Overall Quality of Life Rankings Remain High
Albemarle County is pleased to release the results of its 2017 Citizen Survey, which indicates that citizens continue to rate overall quality of life in the County very high. 89% of survey respondents rated the quality of life in Albemarle County as excellent or good and 91% rated the County as an excellent or good place to live. An overview of the survey findings were presented to the Board of Supervisors during the October 4th Board meeting. Survey highlights include:
•Almost all respondents (91%) rated Albemarle County’s overall natural environment as excellent or good, a rating which is above the benchmark.
•About four in five residents gave excellent or good ratings to the overall quality of County services; this rating was similar to the benchmark.
•Respondents highlighted Mobility as a focus area for the County in the coming years. While Mobility-related services were rated similar to the nation and ratings for traffic flow increased between 2015 and 2017, the overall ease of travel and travel by alternate modes of transportation were all lower than the national average.
•Resident also found that the ease of walking in the County had become more difficult over the past two years. When asked about the importance of service, about 6 in 10 residents felt sidewalk/curb maintenance, new sidewalks, and expansion of bicycle paths were essential or very important. 50% considered expansion and improvement of trails and bus service to be important. Two-thirds of respondents somewhat or strongly supported paying higher taxes to fund new sidewalks, sidewalk/curb maintenance, and expansion of bicycle paths and trails.
Since 2002, Albemarle County has contracted with survey consultants biannually to conduct reliable and valid County-wide citizen surveys. Staff, elected officials and other stakeholders use the survey results for community planning and resource allocation, program improvement and policy making. For example, the 2015 results indicated that citizens felt that mobility was an area for improvement. In response to this identified need to improve mobility, the FY17 adopted budget provided funding for a bus route to 5th Street Station and increased funding for transportation revenue sharing. More recently, the FY18 adopted budget provided funding for the Neighborhood Improvement Funding Initiative (NIFI) quality of life improvement projects, many of which serve to enhance mobility. And at a joint meeting on September 19, the Board of Supervisors and City Council voted unanimously to join the Jefferson Area Regional Transit Partnership (RTP), a critical demonstration of partnership to advance regional efforts in transportation.
The National Citizen Survey™ (The NCS) is a collaborative effort between National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). The NCS was developed by NRC to provide a statistically valid survey of resident opinions about community and services provided by local government. Participating household were selected at random and multiple mailings were provided to give households more than one chance to participate. Results were statistically weighted to reflect the proper demographic composition of the community. There were 385 completed surveys. This is a representative sample and the results of this survey are statistically valid within a margin of error of plus or minus 5% points.
For more information and to review the complete survey results, visit www.albemarle.org/citizensurvey.