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NEWS RELEASE
For Release:    May 15, 2012
Contact:           Phil Lammers, City Administrator - 913.322.5501
                         Christy Playter, Communications Coordinator - 913.322.5507

Related Documents: 2012 Merriam DirectionFinder Survey Results

Survey reveals Merriam among the very best in nation for citizen satisfaction
MERRIAM, KANSAS (May 15, 2012) – The results of Merriam’s most recent citizen survey were presented to the City Council on Monday evening. Merriam’s ratings surpassed national perceptions in 21 of 24 areas. The City of Merriam also scored higher than average in 30 of 32 areas of service delivery compared to other communities in the Kansas City area.

“Merriam has done an excellent job of providing services to its residents,” said Karen Falk, vice president, ETC Institute, which conducted the survey. “In a time where the economy has required many communities to cut funding for city services, Merriam has been able to maintain services and raise citizen satisfaction levels. Compared to communities its size, Merriam rated significantly above average in all service areas.”

Merriam contracted with ETC Institute, Olathe, which uses its DirectionFinder® product to conduct citywide surveys of residents in metropolitan Kansas City and across the nation. According to ETC, it surveys over 300 cities of various sizes across the nation. Merriam conducted its first DirectionFinder® survey in 2006.

The City uses these surveys to assess citizen satisfaction with the delivery of major city services and to help determine priorities for the community as part of the City’s on-going planning process.

“Asking our residents how we are doing gives us essential information to help us measure our effectiveness, responsiveness, and the quality of city services,” said City Administrator Phil Lammers. “This kind of regular feedback is vital for continual improvement.”

A total of 590 residents completed the survey, exceeding the goal of 400 surveys returned, and yielding a 96% confidence level. Some of the major findings include:

  • Overall perception of Merriam. Most of the residents surveyed who had and opinion were satisfied with the overall quality of City services (89%), the quality of life in the City (85%), the overall value received for City tax dollars and fees (71%) and the maintenance and preservation of downtown Merriam (64%). The value received for City tax dollars and fees, was considerably higher than the national average and the Kansas City Metro average. 
  • Public Safety. The highest levels of satisfaction with public safety services based on the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among residents who had an opinion were: the quality of local police protection (90%), the quality of local fire protection (88%), and how quickly the public safety personnel respond to emergencies (87%). Among the public safety issues that were assessed, there were seven significant increases and no significant decreases since 2006. 
  • Parks and Recreation. The highest levels of satisfaction with parks and recreation services, based on the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” among residents who had an opinion were: the maintenance of city parks (91%), the number of city parks (84%), and the Farmers Market at Merriam Marketplace (80%). Among the parks and recreation issues that were assessed, there were two significant increases: (1) Farmers Market at Merriam Marketplace, (2) the adult recreation programs. There were no significant decreases. 
  • City Maintenance. The highest levels of satisfaction with City maintenance services based on the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among residents who had an opinion were: snow removal on City streets (93%), the maintenance of major City streets (81%), and maintenance of City buildings (89%). Among the maintenance issues that were assessed, there were nine significant increases and no significant decreases.

The survey revealed that quality of the City’s customer service increased significantly in three of four areas assessed. Areas of greatest satisfaction with residents include the quality of police and fire protection; the maintenance of city parks; and snow removal on major city streets. Areas of least satisfaction included enforcing maintenance of rental and residential properties.

Results of the survey can be found here. For more information contact: Phil Lammers, City Administrator, 913-322-5501, or Christy Playter, Communications Coordinator, 913-322-5507.