Every two years, the City of Fort Collins conducts a survey providing residents with an opportunity to rate the quality of life in the city and their satisfaction with community amenities and local government. The survey also allows residents to provide feedback to the City government on what is working well and what is not, and their priorities for community planning and resource allocations.
The 2010 survey is the fifth report since 2001 so not only is there a trend line for the results but the National Research Center, which conducts the survey for the City, is able to compare the results to over 500 communities nationwide and to 28 other communities along the Front Range of Colorado.
Here are a few highlights:
- When asked to rate Fort Collins, “overall, as a place to live,” 93% of residents rated it as ‘’very good’ or ‘very good’ which is much above the national and front range benchmarks. 90% said it was a good place to attend college, 89% rated it as a good or very good place to raise children, 88% rated the quality of life as good or very good and 80% said it was a good place to retire.
- In general, the rankings of eighteen categories of “Quality of Life and Community Ratings” were similar to the report of 2008 and mostly higher than the results from surveys prior to that. In nearly all the questions, Fort Collins ranked much above other National and Front Range communities.
- One significant improvement over the previous surveys was the “availability of affordable quality housing” which received a 42% response as good or very good. This compares to 31% in 2008 and 14% in 2006.
- Almost all residents (97%) reported feeling ‘always safe’ or ‘usually safe’ in their neighborhood during the day and 83% had a similar feeling at night.
- The eleven community safety service ratings were similar to the previous survey and were given higher marks than in other National and Front Range communities.
- Transportation ratings show “ease of traveling by bicycle rated good or very good by 80% and 59% said we have a “walkable city”. These are above other community rankings.
- Traffic congestion is improving with 25% rating it good or very good compared to 18% in 2008 and ‘ease of driving’ was at 51% good or very good compared to 43% in 2008. Street maintenance took a hit at 32% compared to 47% two years ago.
- The ratings of “parks, recreational and cultural programs and facilities” were generally rated very high and ranked much above the national comparison. Recreational trails, natural areas, open space and parks were rated good or very good by more than 90% or respondents.
- The ‘overall direction the City is taking’ was substantially improved; rated good or very good by 61%, compared to 54% in 2008. The rating for ‘managing and planning for growth’ also improved from 36% to 48%.
- Residents were asked how much effort the City should put towards these areas: economy, environment, neighborhoods, safety, transportation, general government and culture, parks and recreation. Over half of the residents thought the economy and transportation should receive more focus.
- A new question related to fiscal management and planning was added to the 2010 survey. A majority of respondents (66%) supported increasing taxes or fees to maintain or make limited improvements to current services. 80% said that they would be willing to pay additional taxes or fees to maintain current services.
The overall report card is that the City of Fort Collins is doing well and the community and services are highly regarded by the citizens. In spite of the sluggish economy the results are generally favorable compared to previous reports and rank above or much above similar reports for other communities along the Front Range and across the nation.
The 2010 survey is a 140 page report that is available on line at www.FCGov.com/citizensurvey