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Posted: Wednesday, February 13th 2013 at 11:17am

Resident ratings put Suwanee at the top

By Staff
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
SUWANEE - For the third time, Suwanee residents have been asked to rate community characteristics and government services through the National Citizens Survey. For the third time, residents have rated Suwanee highly, generally above and often much above ratings received from residents in some 500 other jurisdictions across the country.

In the 2012 National Citizens Survey, conducted in November, residents’ ratings placed Suwanee among the top 10 performing communities in 32 of 117 questions addressed – that’s 27 percent. Residents’ responses made Suwanee #1 in four areas: land use, planning and zoning; preservation of natural areas; city parks; and availability of affordable quality child care.

Suwanee conducts the National Citizens Survey every two years. The survey allows the approximately 500 participating communities across the country to benchmark themselves against one another and to identify local challenges, evaluate improvements, and monitor services and amenities. The statistically valid and scientifically administered survey is managed by the National Research Center and International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

Suwanee residents continue to be pleased with overall community quality. Ninety-nine percent of survey-takers rated Suwanee as an excellent or good place to live and would recommend living in Suwanee. Ninety-seven percent rated the overall quality of life as excellent or good.

“This scientific, objective analysis allows us to measure citizen desires and our performance,” says Mayor Jimmy Burnette. “What we’re really pleased with is how we’ve stayed strong. Our numbers have stayed consistently high across the board and across time. It seems clear that residents, too, are pleased with our direction as a community.”

In the area of public trust, 89 percent of residents said they are pleased with the overall direction Suwanee is taking (putting Suwanee second among 300 communities) and 76 percent felt that the value of services for taxes paid to Suwanee was excellent or good, ranking Suwanee fifth among 366 communities that asked their residents that question. As a comparison, 40 percent of Suwanee residents said that services provided by the federal government were excellent or good, a rating that is similar to that of other communities.

Of 31 community characteristics for which comparisons are available, Suwanee residents rated their community above the national benchmark in 30 areas. Suwanee ranked below the benchmark in the area of contact with neighbors. Of 36 services rated, Suwanee scored above the national benchmark in 33 areas. Two services (snow removal and recycling) were ranked similarly to the benchmark, and bus/transit service scored below the benchmark.

Two areas in which Suwanee excelled were preservation of natural areas (Suwanee repeated its #1 ranking from 2010) and city parks, moving up from #2 in 2010 to #1.

“This is another affirmation of the 2001 Open Space referendum,” says Burnette, “of how it has shaped our community and was so much the right thing to do.”

Other survey findings include:
• Suwanee’s overall image/reputation was rated excellent or good by 98 percent of respondents.
• Suwanee ranked seventh among 277 communities for availability of affordable housing and eighth among 201 for variety of housing options.
• The excellent/good ratings for Suwanee’s land use, planning, and zoning was up 13 percent over 2010 survey results, putting Suwanee at the top of the benchmark.
• Court services’ excellent/good rating was up 12 percent over 2010, going from 69 to 81 percent.
• Eighty-four percent of residents visited a neighborhood or City park more than three times in the previous 12 months; 51 percent more than 13 times; and 30 percent more than 26 times.
• Suwanee as a place to work was rated more highly in 2012, up 12 percent.
• Forty-eight percent of respondents moved to Suwanee within the past 5 years and among areas that were most important to their selection of Suwanee as a place to live were police/public safety, community appearance, overall community feel/vibe, neighborhoods, park system, and Suwanee’s image/reputation.

The National Citizens Survey was administered in November. Suwanee’s overall response rate was 25 percent; the typical response rate on citizen surveys ranges from 20-40 percent.

Associated Categories: Business News, Local/State News

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