The KCMO 4th Quarter Citizen Satisfaction survey results were posted by the city, and most city services got lower marks than they did in the previous quarters. Mayor Mark Funkhouser ran on a platform of improving citizen satisfaction and for the most part, numbers have continued to decline while he has been mayor. Ouch. Not all of this falls on Funkhouser's shoulders, but many of the items directly do.
Interestingly, council woman Jan Marcason told the KC Star she still thinks there are a lot of positive developments in the city but that the city hasn't done a good enough job telling the good news. However, many of the poor marks tie directly back into things going on in the city -- and the city leaders hiding from that will only make it worse, not better. Acknowledging the problems would be a good first step in fixing them.
You can read the entire 15 page survey here (worth the time) -- but here are some highlights I've picked out (with some comments). The surveys were administered between March 7 and March 25 -- just so you know what is or is not included in people's mind.
Overall, police, fire and ambulance services scored high marks - 73% satisfaction. Nice work by the Chief Corwin and the folks at Mast for such high marks. You were one of the few highlights.
How well is the city planning growth? 21% satisfied
Continued development in the Northland and in the South while the population continues to struggle in the core can be easily to the low score.
Quality of local police protection - 62% satisfied.
I know that seems low - but compared to the rest of the numbers on the survey, they're actually quite good.
Quality of animal control - 38% Satisfied
This is a pretty sharp drop frm the 45% six months ago -- and will likely get hit even harder in the next round following news of door-to-door licensing sweeps. The percentage of animals being killed at the shelter has gone down pretty dramatically -- however, this has been due to the city turning the control of the shelter over to a private entity instead of maintaining the control of day-to-day operations under the city.
Maintenance of Community Centers - 38% satisfied
This too is a sharp drop from 46% last survey period.
Level of public involvement in local decison-making - 20% satisfied
It seems like repeatedly, citizen groups are put together to provide recommendations on various things in this town only to be completely ignored by the groups that appoint them. The light rail task force and recent dog park task force are two that immediately come to mind. The city leaders have seemed to have forgotten who they work for (hint: it's the citizens who elect you)
Overall quality of leadership provided by the city's elected officials - 15% Satisfied
This is down from 24% in 2008. This should be a great year to be a challenger of an incumbant in the elections...and if these same dissatisfied people vote once again for the same people they dislike it will be a horrible testimony on voter's desire to create positive change -- or a huge statement that the new people are really just more of the same.
Satisfaction of appointed boards and commissions - 15% Satisfied.
This includes Aggie Stackhouse and the rest of her Parks Board folks. Most of these groups are appointed by the mayor and it doesn't look like the citizens are any too impressed.
Satisfaction with the city manager and appointed staff - 17% satisfied
This is up 2 points from the winter survey -- it looks like Troy Schulte may be winning over a few fans very gradually.
How ethically the city conducts business - 16% satisfied
Down from 25% in 2008.
Maintenance of city streets - 16% satisfied
This is down significantly from the December wave. My guess is that the record snowfalls and damage to roads being fresh in everyone's minds made a big impact on this already bad score.
Smoothness of city streets - 15% satisfied.
I guess 1% of the population likes non smooth streets.
Condition of sidewalks in the city - 18% satisfied
Again, I'm guessing the fact that virtually no one (including the city) shoveled the snow off their sidewalks this winter had an impact on this 4 point drop - -but honestly, these infastructure numbers are just awful no matter how you slice it.
Snow removal on majory city streets - 45% satisfied
Given the amount of snow we had this winter this is actually a pretty decent score I think -- and maybe an indicator that the snow wasn't the only reason people are dissatisfied with the roads.
Snow removal on residential streets - 23% satisfied
I can only assume that all of these people live on major streets.
Quality of recycling collection services - 68% satisfied
This is up 1 point -- I wonder if the private enterprise of Ripple Glass helped here.
Enforcing the mowing and cutting of weeds on private property - 16% satisfied
Enforcing the cleanup of litter and debris on private property - 17% satisfied
Codes enforcement remains undone in this city.
Interestingly, 60% of population still considers Kansas City an excellent place to live. This is a pretty cool city to live in in spite of our lack of city services. Just think if we could get all of our ducks in a row as a city....
What stood out to you in reading the report?