Overall survey results favorable for LA County

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By Jennifer Garcia

Los Alamos County is a good place to live. At least that’s what residents are saying, according to a survey conducted by a Colorado firm.

The county has been conducting citizen satisfaction surveys for several years.

The purpose of the citizen survey is to gather public opinion on a variety of subjects, including satisfaction with county services and programs.

When possible, the information gained by the survey is used by the county to help guide the county’s goals for service improvement.

The survey was conducted by Vantage Marketing Research Inc., based in Littleton, Colo.

Approximately 400 county residents were randomly selected to participate in the phone survey. Residents received survey calls between Sept. 15 and 30.

Vantage designed the survey to be completed in less than 15 minutes. A variety of questions were included that would solicit the public’s input on quality of life, community needs, county resource allocation and media information and sources.

Jim Eshelman of Vantage Marketing Research attended the council meeting on Tuesday night and made a presentation of some of the results to council.

“This is the second time that Jim has done this survey for us,” said Julie Habiger, the county’s Public Information Officer.

“Twenty-five percent of people polled used the Atomic City Transit,” Eshelman said. According to the results, the transit system received high marks from those surveyed.

The survey also revealed that Los Alamos County residents continue to rate the overall quality of life highly. In 2008, more than nine out 10 residents (91 percent) rated it as either good (49 percent) or excellent (42 percent).

In addition, those surveyed also gave high ratings to the overall quality of Los Alamos County services. More than nine out of 10 residents (95 percent) rated the overall quality as either good (56 percent) or excellent (39 percent).

  General services also received a high rating. The services residents were asked about were residential recycling services and residential trash collection. Both received ratings that shows the county is better than good.

However, when asked about safety and reliability of road conditions and the safety and reliability of sidewalk conditions, the results were a bit different. Both subjects received average ratings that were slightly below good.

According to the survey, only 3 percent of residents had filed any complaints during the last 12 months about enforcement of the county’s nuisance ordinance regarding weed control, unscreened storage and debris or abandoned vehicles. All of the recreational/cultural programs and facilities received average ratings better than good.

Two of the programs were rated between good and excellent. They were: The series of free community concerts and the senior center programs and activities. Other recreational/cultural programs and facilities that received high marks were the golf course, the aquatic center, the ice rink, the condition of county parks, the condition of the hiking and bicycling trails and the county recreation programs and activities.

Two dimensions of library services, the quality of library customer service and the ability of library services to meet residents’ needs, received very high ratings in the good to excellent range.

Those surveyed said that during the 30 days preceding the survey, at least one household member in 43 percent of the households used the Atomic City Transit. Users rated their overall experience on the Atomic City Transit very highly in the good to excellent range.

  There was good news for local police officers, as well.

Nearly all the residents surveyed said they feel always (56 percent) or usually (43 percent) safe from crime. Less than one percent said they feel usually unsafe and none claimed to feel always unsafe.

Other public safety services that were rated better than good were police services, emergency preparedness information and DUI/DWI enforcement.

The results on county government were staggered. The openness of the county decision making process and the fairness of the county decision making process received ratings that were above fair, while communication information about county news, meetings and events in a timely manner; providing opportunities for citizen involvement in county decision making; and providing information that citizens need to participate in county decisions all received ratings in the fair to good range.

In addition, those surveyed were asked if they had seen, heard, or read any information from the county through each of six different media. Fifty-eight percent of residents read the Los Alamos Monitor at least one day per week and saw an advertisement or public notice in the publication regarding a county-sponsored public meeting, project or program during the 30 days preceding the survey.

For complete survey results, visit the county website at www.losalamosnm.us.