Bedford County Citizen-Satisfaction Survey, News & Advance

Lynchburg News & Advance.com

Survey: Bedford Residents Satisfied

By A. DIONNE WAUGH
January 13, 2003

Bedford County residents are happy where they live and are almost 84 percent satisfied with county services, according to the results of a citizen survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research at the University of Virginia.

The results were presented at the Board of Supervisors meeting Monday night. The survey's goals were to assess residents' perception of quality of life in the county as well as to rank the goals for the comprehensive plan.

"You should feel pretty good because Bedford is higher than the average," said Kate Wood, associate director for the center.

The center surveyed 1,445 residents by telephone and found that the top three goals for the comprehensive plan were providing high quality public education, protecting water quality in reservoirs, streams and wells and improving volunteer fire-fighting and rescue service. Wood said that because the survey was conducted during September, the drought may have had an effect on the protection of water quality.

The next most important goals by citizens were providing law enforcement service, bringing in higher paying jobs, preserving farmland and forested land and supporting services for the elderly.

"We're finding that support for services for the elderly is increasing as the baby boomer generation is retiring," Wood said.

On a 10-point scale, 67 percent gave the county a rating of 8 or better while 18 percent gave the county a rating of 10.

Though education was the most important goal, it was ranked 18th in satisfaction by residents. Satisfaction by residents in providing quality education was 69.1 percent while school system effectiveness and efficiency was 66.1 percent.

Residents are most satisfied by library services, fire protection and the overall appearance of communities. Almost 84 percent said they were satisfied with protection provided by the Sheriff's Department while 92.8 percent were satisfied by fire protection.

Ten percent of residents said they trust the Bedford government "just about always" while 50 percent said they trust the government "most of the time."

In other business, the board appointed Supervisor E. Anthony Ware II as chairman, replacing Dale Wheeler, and Supervisor Bobby Pollard as vice chair.

"I want to say thanks to Dale," Ware said. "He set a pattern that's tough to follow and we've got a tough year ahead of us. With the budget, we're going to have some real strong soul searching."

The board also authorized the Sheriff's Department to apply for a $450,000 Internet Crimes Against Children Grant from the federal government.