Survey rates Suffolk living good

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 19, 2004

Residents gave public safety services, city parks and libraries the highest grades in a survey that will shape planning for the city’s future.

Public schools, the city’s communication with citizens and the flow of traffic dominated the bottom of the satisfaction thermometer.

Overall, the 435 residents randomly sampled in the Suffolk’s community survey were satisfied with most services, said Nanci Glassman, a spokeswoman with Continental Research Associates, during the Suffolk City Council’s work session Wednesday.

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The Norfolk marketing firm telephoned selected residents throughout the city with the 18-minute questionnaire between June 10 and July 5.

Some responses on the survey include:

*About 89 percent believe Suffolk is a safe place to live.

*Almost as many – 88 percent – said Suffolk has a good quality of life.

*Of the 242 people who contacted the city for information, business or to report a problem last year, 67 percent were satisfied with response to the issue.

*Only 39 percent city believe Suffolk is a good place to look for a job of the project.

The survey cost about $9,000.

Council members said the survey will be a working document for its retreat next month.

Councilman E. Dana Dickens III wants council to look for ways to boost satisfaction levels on the quality of response when people call the city.

&uot;There is an opportunity in that scenario to make people better about contacting the city, whether we can solve the problem or not,&uot; he said.

Mayor Bobby Ralph said the document won’t be shelved.

&uot;It is going to help us charter our way into the future.&uot;

Continental Research, a Norfolk-based marketing firm, interviewed 435 Suffolk residents – who have lived in the city for an average of 26 years – by telephone in June and July. Residents were randomly selected through a computer screening process.

Approximately half of the people interviewed were in their 40s and 50s. A third of those surveyed have children under age 18. Eighty percent are homeowners.

Although calls were made to all parts of the city, more than 60 percent of them went to residents living in and around downtown (23434 Zip Code).

About 27 percent of the calls were to northern Suffolk homes (23435 Zip Code). The remaining calls were split among the city’s remaining Zip Codes.

ItemPercentage satisfied

*Fire and rescue services97.8

*Police services94.7

*City parks88.5

*Public library system88.3

*Garbage collection84.1

*Recreation centers84.0

*City services (overall)82.8

*Overall city appearance82.5

*Availability of information

on city services to residents78.6

*Maintenance of roads/streets69.2

*Flow of traffic of roads/streets68.7

*City’s efforts to communicate with


*Public school system66.5