City Residents Generally Happy With Municipal Services
Results of City-Wide Survey Show Lake Wales Ranks Highly in Quality of Life
Last updated 7/28/2022 at 10:32am
Lake Wales residents are generally quite happy with the services and conditions provided to residents by municipal government, according to a city-wide survey conducted by ETC Institute. Three commissioners heard a report on the findings through a telephone presentation by a company representative at their workshop.
At the time the survey was launched, City Manager James Slaton called it "an important planning tool as Lake Wales moves forward." The survey was completed by 402 citizens and has a margin of error of about four percent.
Slaton said the survey results will "serve as a backdrop to the budget process so we understand what's going on with the community and what its desires are. This will be informative for commissioners in creating a budget."
"I intend to do this every other year. It's going to identify the areas we're performing well in as well as areas of weakness, so we then know what to focus on," Slaton noted. "To some degree it will be a scorecard so we can look back and see to what degree we're improving in certain areas."
The survey showed that Lake Wales ranks well among other Florida communities in terms of satisfaction with the quality of life. Both police and fire services are well regarded by residents, with general satisfaction recorded in almost every category. Maintenance or replacement of damaged sidewalks and streets was an area given priority in the the responses.
He said the plan is to survey the community on a regular basis to not only prepare for the future, but hold city leaders accountable to what residents prioritize as important to them.
The survey will be designed to provide data not only on the city as a whole, but geographic areas within the city's boundaries as well. According to a press release, "Satisfaction with the overall quality of City services rates 14 percent above the Florida average. Customer service satisfaction rates 22 percent above average. 82 percent are satisfied with Lake Wales as a place to live."
"What will be different about this is the responses can be separated into geographic areas so we can understand if this portion of town feels different than another portion of town about regular services we provide," Slaton added. "It's going to drive us in a good direction in terms of just increasing our level of service across the board. That's the whole point. We have to know how we're performing across the entire city."
The survey was conducted through a "public facing interactive data dashboard," according to materials presented at the approval of the project, which was conducted primarily during or early spring. The dashboard included trend analysis, GIS mapping of results, benchmark analysis, and priority analysis, city officials said, allowing them to pinpoint where in the city the comments came from, assuring some level of geographic distribution.
"It will allow anyone to dive into the specific results," said city Special Projects Manager Michael Manning. "They can filter by question, by service area, by certain regions of the city versus others, and really measure what the level of service is and where the community would like to see improvements."