Daily Progress: Survey Shows Satisfaction with [Albemarle County] Government

It's (almost) all good with county

Survey shows satisfaction with government

Daily Progress Staff Writer
Sunday, October 15, 2006

While love might not always be in the air at Albemarle County Board of Supervisors meetings, a county survey shows that most feel cozy with their government in all but a few areas.

The Albemarle County Citizen Satisfaction Survey, conducted by the Center for Survey Research at the University of Virginia, surveyed 787 random residents contacted by phone. The survey had a sampling error of about plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. The county surveys its residents every two years.

Among the results:

  • Seventy-four percent rated the county’s quality of life an eight or better out of 10. Nineteen percent rated the county a 10, compared with 16 percent in 2004.
  • The quality of schools was the top priority among those surveyed. Emergency rescue services and fire protection were a close second, and support for cultural and entertainment opportunities and the promotion of tourism ranked toward the bottom. Most surveyed were more than satisfied with emergency services, giving it a 97 percent approval.
  • About 91 percent of county residents said they are generally satisfied with county programs and services.
  • About 73 percent were satisfied with “county efforts to maintain the quality of life while dealing with growth and development.”
  • As for taxes, most residents, 85 percent, thought they were getting good value for their tax dollars.
  • Fifty-five percent were satisfied with efforts to ease the use of public transportation, and the same percentage was satisfied with the county’s ability to manage growth (63 percent said the county should grow at a slower pace).

The surveyors concluded that the board and the county staff should be satisfied that “this survey has clearly indicated that Albemarle residents continue to be pleased with their quality of life and with their local government.”

Lee Catlin, a county spokeswoman, said the numbers are reassuring.

“We have really held very steady with the high ranking of quality of life for the last 12 years, even during a time when there’s been challenges,” Catlin said. “It says a lot about the county and how things are going.”

But, she said, there are still areas where the county would like to improve.

“It’s not all good news,” she said, citing managing growth and affordable housing as areas where the county can improve.

“Not surprisingly, most people want the county to grow slower,” she said. “Providing infrastructure, protecting rural areas are all parts of the strategic plan to get at some of those things.”

Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker said the survey showed that transportation is an important issue that will continue to plague county policymakers. In real dollars, he said, the county received 70 percent less in state funding this year than it did in 1996.

“It’s an acute quality-of-life issue for most of our citizens,” Rooker said.

Contact Jeremy Borden at (434) 978-7263 or jborden@dailyprogress.com.