The results are in!
The 2018 Community Survey was implemented to provide residents the opportunity to rate the quality of life in the City of Savage, as well as the quality of service delivery and overall workings of local government. The survey also permitted residents to provide feedback on what is working well and what is not, and to share their priorities for community planning and resource allocation. Surveys were sent to 1,500 randomly selected households in March, 2018. An opt-in online survey was also offered. A total of 737 residents responded; 443 mail surveys, and 294 opt-in online surveys. This is a 30% response rate. Survey results have been weighted to reflect the demographic profile of our residents and community; and there is a 95% confidence interval. This was the second time we have used the National Research Center to implement a randomly selected direct mail survey. All but four questions were comparable to the questions asked in 2016 so we are beginning to gather trend data from year to year. Besides comparing year to year, we also compare how we are doing to both a national and Minnesota database of communities who have implemented similar surveys and evaluated the same kinds of topics. We have noted when we have rated higher or in a few cases, lower, than these national and MN benchmarks.
Overall, ratings in 2018 remained stable. Of the 126 items for which comparisons are available, 86 items were rated similarly in 2016 and 2018, 17 items showed a decrease in ratings and 23 showed an increase in ratings. Here is an overview of the key findings:
Savage continues to be a desirable place to live and raise a family.
Savage residents continue to enjoy an exceptionally high quality of life. In fact, ratings for every aspect of what makes our community livable, attractive, and a place where people want to be, increased since the last survey in 2016.
- Overall, 91% of residents ranked the quality of life in Savage as excellent/good.
- 93% of residents say Savage is an excellent/good place to live and raise a family which was higher than the national benchmark.
- Nearly all residents like their neighborhoods, feel safe, and would recommend Savage to others.
Safety and the economy are top priorities.
Like many communities, safety and the economy were identified as top priorities. Savage continues to rank high with regard to safety:
- 97% feel safe in their neighborhoods
- 93% have an excellent/good overall feeling of safety in Savage
- 89% said they felt safe in the downtown and commercial areas
- 94% feel the Fire department provides good/excellent services
- 92% rated the Police services as good/excellent
- 85% rated crime prevention as good or excellent which is higher than the national benchmark.
In 2018, more residents are optimistic about the impact the economy will have on their income, and ratings for many aspects of the economy increased from 2016 to 2018 including:
- Overall economic health
- Employment opportunities
- Savage as a place to visit
- Savage as a place to work
- Vibrancy of downtown and commercial areas
The natural environment is an important attribute to the quality of life in Savage.
It is evident that our residents continue to value our rich parks and recreation programs and facilities as well as natural open space and the quality of the overall natural environment in Savage.
- Overall natural environment, cleanliness and air quality in Savage were notably positive.
- Air quality in Savage was higher than the national benchmark
Overall Parks and Recreation ratings were stable from 2016.
- Almost all residents had visited a city park in the last year
- 8 out of 10 rated city parks as excellent or good
- Nearly ¾ of people rated park facilities and recreational programs as good or excellent.
Residents are increasingly happy with their local government’s performance.
In general, confidence in city government or leadership increased, and may be partly attributed to the Triple A bond rating the City received earlier this year.
- Three quarters of those surveyed like the overall direction Savage is taking
- They feel that residents are treated fairly (higher than national benchmark)
- And that the City is being honest and acting in the residents’ best interest. (higher than national benchmark)
Opportunities for Improvement
While we appreciate the good that is happening, we also recognize our responsibility to continually improve and seek out ways to serve the Savage community better, while still being fiscally responsible.
Despite 85% who rated the quality of city services as excellent/good and 84% who feel that the overall customer service by Savage employees is excellent/good, several city services including snowplowing, street cleaning, street repair, sidewalk maintenance, and street lighting rated lower in 2018 than 2016. Over the next several months, it is our plan to look at the current street maintenance policies/procedures, analyze the effectiveness of the current snow plow districts, and evaluate the classifications of our roadways and traffic patterns to see how we can better meet the needs of our growing and changing community.
Parks and Recreation
While the majority of residents are satisfied and engaged with the current parks and recreation offerings, this does not mean that we can’t do better. The City of Savage is committed to being innovative and building on the recreational opportunities for both youth and adults, improving the availability and connectivity of paths and trails, and finding an appropriate balance between active park land and open space throughout our community.
One of the custom questions asked was "select the option that best describes how you think the City should address each of the following areas in the future - invest more, invest same, or invest less." This question was aimed at identifying what residents feel are the priorities for the next few years. The top three areas where residents would like the City to spend more resources are:
- Preservation of natural areas
- Reducing traffic congestion
- Reducing crime
As we discussed this response, we determined that "natural areas" can mean different things to different people. To some people, it may mean areas like the Savage Fen or Murphy Hanrehan Park. To others, it may mean open natural space like what can be found around the Savage water towers. Over the next several months, we will dig deeper to determine what specific type of natural areas do residents want, and we will continue to build awareness of the different types and purposes of our natural areas, open spaces, and parkland.
What can City improve on?
This year we also included an open ended question asking respondent "what is the single one thing you would like the City to improve on?”. 426 of the 737 respondents wrote in a response which was categorized by topic area.
- Nearly one quarter of the responses indicated they wanted the City to make mobility–related improvements such as street repairs, public transportation, snow removal, and traffic flow.
The City encourages residents to continue to watch the City Connection newsletter, the city website and social media for ongoing updates and information on various local, county and state projects aimed to address mobility related improvements. This includes working with Scott County to add flashing yellow arrows to appropriate intersections, working with both the State and County on improvements to Highway 13 and County Road 16, and implementing trail and connectivity recommendations from the recent Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.
Tell Us What You Think
We would love to hear from you! Residents are encouraged to share their input and feedback on the results of the survey with Emily Gunderson, Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-882-2655.