The 2017 Citizen Survey is complete.

This is the fifth year the questionnaire has been sent to every Sedalia household. 2017 saw the highest number of returned surveys, slightly under 1,000, which is a 10% return and is considered a viable count. In other words, the City received the opinion of almost one-thousand of its citizens.

The number of citizens who describe Sedalia as an excellent to good place to live is 69%. Anything over 50% is acceptable, but anything over 60% is exceptionally strong. 69% is almost identical to the previous four surveys. Also, 5% say it is a poor place in which to live. That also is virtually identical to earlier surveys. 66% of the respondents rate the overall quality of city services to be excellent to good.

Over the past five years that number has ranged from 72% to 64%. In an abbreviated survey in 2012, citizens were asked their opinion regarding the overall appearance of the City. At that time, 39% responded that the city’s overall appearance was good to excellent, 43% replied it was fair and 14% reported it was poor. Five years later, there is a notable change in responses to the same overall appearance question; 51% say it is good to excellent, 35% say it is fair, and 11% say it is poor.

Another question we ask each year is for health and safety purposes, should the City inspect rental properties before they are occupied? This year 71% said yes. In previous years that number has varied between 69% and 74%. 71% is exceptionally strong. 23% said they do not want rental inspections for health and safety reasons. In previous years that number has varied between 18% and 23%. On another matter, 82% of those having contact with the City said they were treated courteously. Of the five years, four have been above 80%.

When looking at the survey results pertaining to individual services and departments, it must be remembered, that we only asked for the opinion of those who had contact with that department. Consequently, some of the numbers may seem low, but that is because a lower number of citizens have actually used that service. Animal control is one such department. 32% of those using this service say the service was excellent to good. This is virtually identical to previous years. 17% say it is fair.

However, it is interesting to look at those who say it is poor. This year, that number is the lowest since we started taking the surveys. The poor opinions range from a high of 17% to the current 12%.

Once again, Police and Fire rank high in the opinion of citizens. Both are right at or close to 60% who say they are excellent to good. A department that has felt the numerous changes it is now undergoing is trash pick-up. 61% say it is excellent to good. By itself, that is an excellent number, however, it is down from its normal 80%+.

It is anticipated that once the changes are complete this number should start rising again. Only about half of the citizens use the curbside recycling. And only 35% of Sedalians know that the City provides twice-weekly yard waste pickup for residents unable to carry-off their yard waste. Street maintenance continues to strengthen.

Five years ago 29% of the survey respondents said street work was excellent to good. In 2017 that number is up to 42%. This is the first year we asked about the water department. Citizens clearly have a high opinion of the water service. 66% say it is excellent to good. Only 6% say the City water system is poor.

Another piece of encouraging news from the survey is the opinion people have of downtown Sedalia. Five years ago, in the first survey, only 49% of citizens said their opinion of downtown was excellent to good. In each subsequent year that number has gotten stronger. In 2017 it is up to an all-time high of 61%. Those who have a poor opinion of downtown are at 5%, the lowest number ever.

In every survey for the previous five years, the Parks department had a rating of over 70% of citizens who feel it is excellent to good. The same number applies to 2017 which is 74%.

The purpose of the annual survey is to measure citizen opinion of City services.

Sedalia Municipal Building
Randy Kirby

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