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2006 Citizen Survey

Key Findings

FORT COLLINS AS A COMMUNITY

Using a scale ranging from very bad to very good, respondents gave mean ratings of good to Fort Collins as a place to raise children, a place to attend college and a place to retire. They also gave the community a mean rating of good overall, as a place to live. These ratings were unchanged from prior surveys.

A new item, overall economic health, received a mean rating of average, with 57 percent of respondents rating it average or lower.

Most community attributes received mean ratings of good. Two exceptions were the availability and diversity of job opportunities and availability of affordable housing. Respondents gave mean ratings of average to both of these items.

ENVIRONMENT

Respondents rated the overall quality of the environment as good.

They also rated all attributes associated with environmental quality as good.

NEIGHBORHOOD

As places to live and as places to raise children, respondents rated their neighborhoods as good.

Respondents living in the eastern quadrants of Fort Collins gave their neighborhoods somewhat higher ratings than those living in the western quadrants, both as places to live and as places to raise children.

On average, respondents have lived in their current homes for 11 years. More than one third (38%) of them have been in their current homes for five or fewer years.

Overall, 96 percent of respondents know at least one of their neighbors by name.
Most respondents talk with at least one of their neighbors once per week, or more often. The longer respondents live in the same home, the more frequently they talk with their neighbors.

COMMUNITY SAFETY

Respondents rated the overall safety of residents as good, with no significant change in the mean rating compared to previous surveys.

Using a scale ranging from always unsafe to always safe, respondents rated their neighborhoods as always safe during the day.

Respondents also gave downtown Fort Collins during the day a relatively high mean rating as usually safe, bordering on always safe. Nearly one-half of respondents (48.1%) rated downtown Fort Collins during the day as always safe.

Respondents rated all other situations and locations as usually safe.

TRANSPORTATION

Among the transportation options, respondents gave the highest mean rating to the ease of traveling in Fort Collins by bicycle, rating it as good.

Fort Collins as a walkable city and the ease of driving in Fort Collins were both rated average.

Only slightly more than 50 percent of respondents expressed an opinion regarding public transportation, but those with an opinion rated it average, bordering on bad.

CITY GOVERNMENT

For most items regarding informing, listening or responding to citizens, survey respondents rated the City’s performance as average. One exception was in informing citizens about programs and services, which received a mean rating of good. Performance in informing citizens about City issues and problems received a rating of average that bordered on good.

Respondents rated overall City management as average, with no statistically significant change from the past two surveys. All other attributes of City management were also rated average, with one exception. Respondents rated the City’s performance as bad (bordering on average) in maintaining Fort Collins’ status as the retail hub of northern Colorado.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

In their interaction with citizens, employees continue to register ratings that are well within the range of good on all the customer service attributes.

RECREATION AND CULTURE

Respondents gave overall ratings of good to recreation programs and facilities for seniors, adults and youth/teens, with no significant changes in the ratings compared to previous surveys. As was true in previous surveys, respondents rated senior and adult programs and facilities somewhat higher than the programs and facilities for youth/teens. Ratings for all recreation facilities were in the range of good.

Respondents gave relatively high mean ratings to parks, trails and open space, well within the range of good. Ratings for natural areas and open space, in particular, have trended upward since the first survey was conducted in 2001.

Respondents gave all cultural and educational facilities and programs mean ratings of good.

COMMUNICATIONS

About 21 percent of residents had visited the City’s website (www.fcgov.com) at least once during the past seven days, up from 12 percent of residents in 2003. These visitors made an average of two visits during the week.

About 18 percent of residents had used the website to transact business at least once during the past three months. Those who used the website for transactions completed an average of nearly three transactions during a three-month period.

Respondents’ mean ratings for the website are in the range of good for the website as a source of information and as a means of transacting business. However, they rate it higher as a source of information than as a means of transacting business.

For the majority of respondents (71%), the newspaper is a primary source of information regarding City issues, services and programs. Large percentages (more than 40%) also rely on the phone book, “City News” and the “Recreator” as primary sources.

BUDGET PRIORITIES

Statistically reliable majorities of respondents said that two goals should be given more effort: improving economic health and improving transportation. For all of the other goals, majorities said they should be given the same level of effort as they currently receive.

Respondents who favored more effort to improve economic health or transportation also tended to prefer funding the extra effort with new or increased fees or by reducing efforts to achieve other goals, rather than with new or increased taxes.

When asked which goals should be reduced to fund more effort to improve economic health or transportation, respondents tended to select reduced efforts to achieve a high performing government, reduced efforts to improve neighborhood quality, and, to a lesser extent, reduced efforts to improve cultural, recreational and educational opportunities.