CITIZEN SATISFACTION SURVEY
Executive Summary vania County, marital status, race, school atten-
dance, type of school, and type of home.
2004 SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY
CITIZEN SATISFACTION SURVEY Significant differences in survey responses by
subgroup are discussed in the full report. The sur-
CENTER FOR SURVEY RESEARCH vey results are briefly summarized below.
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
MARCH 2005 Quality of Life
First of all, it is clear that Spotsylvania residents
In December 2004 and January 2005, the Center are very fond of Spotsylvania County as a place to
for Survey Research at the University of Virginia call home. Respondents were asked to rate the
conducted a telephone survey of 843 residents of quality of life in the County on a scale of 1 to 10,
Spotsylvania County, Virginia, on behalf of the with 10 being the best possible place to live, and 1
County’s Board of Supervisors and administrative being the worst.
staff. The purposes of the survey were to deter-
mine residents’ opinions about quality of life in • The mean rating was 7.10.
Spotsylvania County, to determine which strategic • Approximately 44 percent (44.2%) rated the
planning goals are considered to be of higher County’s quality of life an “8” or better.
budgetary priority, to determine residents’ level of • About six percent (6.4%) rated the County a
satisfaction with a number of services the County “10.”
provides, and to measure citizen opinion about the
way in which the County is managing growth and Strategic Planning Goals
transportation issues. Survey respondents were asked to rate the impor-
tance of each of eighteen strategic planning goals
Summary of Method the County might pursue, on a scale from 1 to 10,
The questionnaire was developed in conjunction where 10 represents the highest budget priority
with key members of the Spotsylvania County and 1 represents the lowest budget priority.
staff. CSR also took special care to include com-
ments and the opinions of the Spotsylvania County • Spotsylvania County residents feel most
Board of Supervisors and the County administra- strongly that protecting the quality of educa-
tive staff in the survey development process. A tion in its public schools should be the number
pretest was conducted to refine the survey instru- one goal, with a mean priority rating of 8.87.
ment and adjust the length. CSR used Random • Reducing traffic congestion is considered the
Digit Dialing (RDD) to contact County residents. second most important goal by Spotsylvania
The survey calling was conducted December 1st, residents, with a mean priority rating of 8.59.
2004 through January 7th, 2005 and resulted in 843 • Safety services are also important to citizens
interviews, yielding a sampling error of ±3.4 per- of Spotsylvania County, with fire and rescue
cent. services (mean 8.35) and law enforcement
services (mean 8.29) ranked as the third and
Data analysis for this survey included breaking fourth most important goals in terms of fund-
down the responses for all opinion items by demo- ing priority.
graphic subgroups in order to determine whether • Improving the Spotsylvania County Museum
there were statistically significant differences be- (mean 5.09) and supporting cultural and enter-
tween them. Statistically significant differences tainment opportunities (mean 5.64) were the
are those that probably did not result merely from least important of the 18 goals for residents of
sampling variability, but instead reflect real differ- the County in terms of budget priority.
ences within the County’s adult population.
Satisfaction with Services
The following demographic variables were used in Overall, citizens of Spotsylvania County are very
our subgroup analysis: age, the presence of chil- satisfied with the services they receive from the
dren in the household, education level, employ- County. To report results on satisfaction, the per-
ment status, gender, homeownership status, cent “very satisfied” and the percent “somewhat
household income, length of residence in Spotsyl- satisfied” were combined.
Center for Survey Research 3
• For the most general question, overall satisfac- Rights” program for conservation easements.
tion with County programs and services, 76 When asked about current preservation efforts by
percent of our respondents said they were sat- the County, views are mixed.
• The majority of residents (80.9%) said their • Only 42 percent feel the County is doing a
level of satisfaction had not changed over the satisfactory job preserving farmland.
past 12 months, although 8.4 percent felt that • Over 60 percent (61.9%) report satisfaction
the level of service by the County had im- with the efforts by the County to preserve its
proved over the year and 10.7 percent indi- natural resources as well as historic places
cated less satisfaction with County services (63.1%).
now than a year ago.
• Residents are very satisfied with public safety In regard to citizen information and participation,
services provided by the County, with the vast half (50.8%) of Spotsylvania residents are satisfied
majority indicating satisfaction with fire pro- with the job the County is doing in keeping citi-
tection (89.6%), emergency medical services zens informed about County government programs
(84.3%), and protection provided by the Sher- and services. More than half (54.1%) of residents
iff’s Department (83.0%). are satisfied with the opportunities for citizen in-
• Satisfaction with 9-1-1 services is also very put into issues that come up for discussion in the
high, with the vast majority of those who re- County. Slightly more than half (52.2%) of those
ported having called 9-1-1 in the past year in- interviewed are satisfied with the opportunities for
dicating they were satisfied with the assistance citizen input on the planning process in the
they received from the person who took the County.
call (95.3%), the response time (81.9%), as
well as the help at the scene (87.0%). Less than half of Spotsylvania County citizens are
satisfied with the current public transportation sys-
A key area of concern for many Spotsylvania resi- tem, but there is strong support for the service.
dents is growth and development within the
County. • Nearly three-fourths (73.9%) of those inter-
viewed said they favor expanding local bus
• Less than a third (32.5%) of citizens are satis- service.
fied with the rate of growth Spotsylvania • More than two-thirds support subsidies for
County is experiencing and 73.1 percent say commuter bus (66.1%) and train (70.4%) ser-
they favor concentrating growth in designated vices.
development areas while restricting develop-
ment in rural areas. Other County-provided services received varying
• Only slightly more than a third (36.8%) are satisfaction ratings.
satisfied with the job the County is doing in
planning how land will be used and developed • Over 90 percent (91.3%) gave County library
in the County. services high marks.
• Almost half (48.7%) of respondents indicated • Over 80 percent (83.9%) are pleased with the
they are satisfied with the efforts by the parks and recreation services provided by the
County to bring employment opportunities and County.
new businesses to the area. • About six out of ten (61.4%) report satisfac-
• Approximately two-thirds (63.3%) say they tion with County litter control and beautifica-
are satisfied with the visual appearance of new tion efforts.
development in the area and 70.4 percent say • Less than half (47.5%) of residents are satis-
they favor the institution of design standards fied with County-run programs for its seniors.
for commercial buildings. • Of those who are familiar with the Department
of Social Services, almost two-thirds (61.8%)
Residents of Spotsylvania County strongly support give it a satisfactory rating.
preservation efforts, with over 80 percent (83.5%) • Only half (50.6%) of the citizens of Spotsyl-
being in favor of the use of public funds for the vania check the public-access television sta-
establishment of a “Purchase of Development tions for information on the County or schools
4 University of Virginia
CITIZEN SATISFACTION SURVEY
at least once a month, but of those who do, • The majority of residents (59.8%) would pre-
over 90 percent (90.9%) report satisfaction fer that the level of taxes and services stay the
with the information they receive from these same, but 22.7 percent would like to see an in-
sources. crease in both and 7.8 percent would like to
• Seventy percent of County residents are Spot- see a decrease in both.
sylvania Water Department customers and ap- • Approximately 80 percent (88.8%) of children
proximately half (49.9%) rate the water qual- in Spotsylvania attend public schools and pa-
ity as excellent to very good, and another third rental satisfaction with the school system is
(30.7%) rated it as good. high, with 80.5 percent of respondents saying
that they were satisfied that the school system
Contact with the County provides efficient and effective services.
In general, citizens of Spotsylvania County re-
ported positive experiences when contacting Employment and Commuting
County departments. Again, to report results on Approximately two-thirds (65.1%) of the em-
satisfaction, the percent “very satisfied” and the ployed residents of Spotsylvania must commute
percent “somewhat satisfied” were combined. outside of the County for their jobs.
• During the past 12 months, 43.8 percent of • The median commute time for Spotsylvania
respondents contacted at least one County de- residents who work outside the County is 45
• The great majority were satisfied with the • The majority of residents (76.5%) would pre-
courtesy and helpfulness (83.6%), efficiency fer to work in Spotsylvania County if jobs
and promptness (77.6%), and knowledge similar to their current position were available.
(80.7%) of County employees. • Those with professional/higher paying jobs are
• Those who used the automated phone service the most likely to have to commute outside of
to contact the County were much less likely to the County for work.
have had a positive experience, with less than
half (48.4%) reporting satisfaction with the Conclusion
system. The Center for Survey Research presents these
• Approximately two-thirds (67.9%) of respon- findings with the hope that they will be of help to
dents had called or visited the Treasurer’s Of- the government of Spotsylvania County as it con-
fice and approximately a third (37.3%) of re- tinues to move forward with its strategic planning
spondents had contact with the Commissioner and decision-making. We believe that the citizen
of Revenue in the past 12 months. The vast opinions expressed here can be a useful tool in
majority were highly satisfied with their ex- governing. The results reported here can serve as
perience with these constitutional offices an important baseline against which future citizen
(90.6% and 92.8% respectively). surveys can be compared. The Board of Supervi-
sors, administrative staff, and employees of Spot-
Government, Taxes and Schools sylvania County can take pride in the high level of
In general, citizens of Spotsylvania County are satisfaction the citizens express. Whereas this sur-
satisfied with the efficiency and effectiveness of vey has indicated that Spotsylvania residents are
the services provided by the County government. clearly pleased with their quality of life and with
their local government, there are serious concerns
• Almost 60 percent (56.6%) of respondents related to issues of growth, development and
said that they trust the County government to transportation.
“do what is right” at least most of the time.
Center for Survey Research 5