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A sample of results from a recent survey taken of San Marcos residents (City of San Marcos graphic).


A survey commissioned by the City of San Marcos showed that residents generally have a positive view of city services and spending priorities, but are less happy with the quality of new development, planning for growth and availability of job opportunities.

Those are among the findings of a community survey conducted in February by ETC Institute comparing San Marcos with other cities in the United States.

The survey and its detailed conclusions are available on the city’s website at Chris Tatham, vice president of ETC of Olathe, KS, presented the findings at a recent city council meeting. The city took responses from 405 residents who returned written questionnaires or were interviewed by telephone.

“The city is setting the standard for customer service,” said Tatham, who noted that the city rated “significantly higher” than regional and/or national findings in how customers are treated, how easy it is to contact staff, accuracy of information/assistance, speed of response and how well issues are handled.

The survey, conducted every two years, aims to objectively assess the level of satisfaction with services, to help set priorities for the community, and to compare San Marcos’ performance with other cities in the region and across the nation. Results had a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.

The survey showed that the city exceeds regional and national satisfaction levels in customer service, and that they feel “safe or very safe.” Respondents gave the city improved marks from the 2011 survey in library services, customer service and solid waste services.

However, satisfaction ratings came in below regional and national rankings in fire services, EMS, police services, stormwater/ flood prevention, code enforcement and streets and sidewalks.

Tatham noted that “current investments (and major construction activity) in city streets and transportation are probably contributing to the short term decrease in satisfaction in these areas.”

ETC has surveyed more than 1,750,000 persons for more than 500 cities since 2006.


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4 thoughts on “Survey shows ups, downs in perceptions of city

  1. This is an interesting survey, particularly if you look at areas where students seemed to think we should be going in a different direction than we are. It almost makes it sound as though the town and gown issues are manufactured to benefit one group (and perhaps not the group you would expect).

    These jumped out at me as items where the student vote (excluding neutrals) jumped out at being skewed in one direction or another.

    33% of students and 41% of non-students are dissatisfied with the level of public involvement in economic development.

    34% of students and 50% of non-students dissatisfied with how the city listens and responds to the needs of citizens.

    37% of students and 45% of non-students dissatisfied with qualiy of new development.

    39% of students and 33% of non-students dissatisfied with availability of bike lanes.

    39% of students and 43% of non-students think industrial development is happening too slow (49% and 43% think it is just right).

    41% of students and 42% of non-students disagree that the city is planning for transportation and infrastructure needs (31% and 23% agree).

    45% of students and 46% of non-students dissatisfied with Maintenance of streets and sidewalks (question re: condition of sidewalks showed only 25% and 38%, leading me to believe the issue is largely street condition).

    46% of students and 39% of non-students dissatisfied with Transportation.

    48% of students and 46% of non-students dissatisfied with planning for growth.

    47% of students and 43% of non-students dissatisfied with availability of Job opportunities.

    48% of students and 69% of non-students oppose incentives for MF housing.

    53% of students and 72% of non-students think MF development is happening too fast (8% and 9% think it is too slow).

    57% of students and 51% of non-students favor investment in downtown revitalization.

    58% of students and 52% of non-students favor incentives for SF housing.

    59% of students and 57% of non-students favor investment in parks and greenspace.

    61% of students and 48% of non-students favor restrictions on smoking in public spaces.

    Only 34% of students and 27% of non-students think the city is committed to economic development, a diversified job base, and more housing options to help grow the middle class.

    72% of students and 62% of non-students favor investment in pre-K through 12th grade education.

    86% of students and 66% of non-students favor investment in job creation.

  2. WOW Ted! Thanks for all the added info. It paints a very different picture than the city’s graphic does.
    The things that struck me was this: “The city took responses from 405 residents who returned written questionnaires or were interviewed by telephone.” The last I heard SM had finally reached that coveted 50K mark in population, but even if we were still sitting at 44K, 405 residents constitute less than 1% of our total population. So, do these “results” really representative of anything?!?

  3. I agree, the results are disappointing. Like our election turnout and level of participation in general, it is what it is. I wish more people would respond to these things.

    Still, it is interesting how well student and non-student views line up.

  4. If it makes you feel any better, the estimate for the number of citizens over 18 is 43,000.


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