Clearwater Citizen Survey
25400 US 19 North, Suite 211
Clearwater, FL 33763
Public Communications & Marketing
City of Clearwater
BACKGROUND AND METHOD
Recognizing that citizen
input is important and affords the best opportunity to reach strategic
objectives, the City of Clearwater commissioned Bordner Research to conduct
a study of residents having the following primary objectives:
- To determine citizen
perceptions of Clearwater, in general
- To determine citizen
perceptions of city government performance over the past year
- To determine citizen
attitudes with respect to selected budget/financing issues
- To provide objective
data which can be used in planning
To meet these objectives,
Bordner Research surveyed via telephone 400 randomly selected residents
of Clearwater. Data collection took place April 2 - 18, 2002. All respondents
were 18 years of age or older and resided within the city limits of Clearwater.
Sampling error was plus or minus 5.0 percent at 95% confidence.
Tables with an asterisk(*)
beside the table number indicate questions that permitted multiple answers
and consequently column percentages may not total 100 percent.
of citizens believe that tourism is important to Clearwater (96%), that
Clearwater is a safe place to live (93%) and that Clearwater is a healthy
and caring place to live (92%).
PERCEPTIONS OF CLEARWATER (%)
|Clearwater is a safe place to live
|Clearwater is a healthy and caring place
|Clearwater is good place to make decent living wage
|Clearwater values cooperation and dialogue
citizens and government
|Clearwater government is customer service
|Tourism is important to Clearwater
* For more detail see Tables 1 - 6 in the Appendix
- Approximately two-thirds think that Clearwater values cooperation
and dialogue between citizens and government (68%) and that Clearwater
government is customer service oriented (67%). Generally, minorities
were more likely than whites to hold both of these opinions (85% to
65% and 81% to 65%, respectively).
- A majority of
citizens (58%) believe that Clearwater is a good place to make a decent
living wage. Those 65 years of age or older were the most likely not
to express an opinion on this issue. Among multi-person households,
those with at least one child under age 13 were more likely than those
without a child to believe Clearwater is a good place to make a decent
living wage (77% to 55%, respectively).
- Six in ten residents
(61%) said the quality of life in Clearwater is above average (40%)
or excellent (21%). An additional thirty-eight percent (38%) said the
quality of life is average. Males and registered voters were more likely
than their respective counterparts to say the quality of life in Clearwater
is above average. Those residing at the beach were the most likely to
rate the quality of life above average or excellent; those residing
in South Central Clearwater were the least likely to do this.
- When asked about
the biggest issues facing Clearwater over the next five years, one-third
(32.8%) of those surveyed said traffic congestion and a little less
than twenty percent said traffic calming (16.8%).
- One-fourth (24.8%)
thought water issues (especially drinking water and storm water) would
be big over the next five years. Females and whites were more likely
than their respective counterparts to state this.
one in five residents cited downtown redevelopment (21.8%) or budget
resources/taxes (21.5%). With respect to the latter citizens seemed
to be particularly concerned about "wasteful spending" and
the "decline in the tax base associated with the Scientologists."
- Maintenance of
the quality of life was mentioned by sixteen percent (16.0%). Many of
these residents were concerned about the impact "overdevelopment"
was having on the quality of life.
fifteen percent felt beach parking (15.5%) and/or beach redevelop- ment
(15.0%) would be big issues over the next five years. Those residing
on the beach were more likely than those living in other areas of the
City to mention both of these issues.
- See Summary Table
2 below for other issues mentioned by a significant number of respondents.
ISSUES FACING CLEARWATER (%)
|Maintaining quality of life
Support to Neighborhoods
- Good majorities
of citizens believed the City is supportive of its neighborhoods on
all issues about which they were queried.
CITY SUPPORT FOR NEIGHBORHOODS (%)
|Storm water issues
|Maintenance of streets/sidewalks
- Slightly less
than ninety percent (86.8%) thought the City is supportive of neighborhood
parks, with approximately one-fourth (22.5%) saying it is very supportive.
three-fourths said the City is supportive of neighborhoods with respect
to traffic enforcement (76.5%) and maintenance of streets/sidewalks
(73.3%). Multi-person households with children under age 13 were more
likely than those without children in the household to perceive the
City as supportive of the latter issue (86.1% to 69.5%, respectively).
two-thirds thought the City is supportive of neighborhoods with respect
to code enforcement (66.3%) and storm water issues (67.6%). Residents
of Southeast Clearwater were slightly more likely than those in other
areas to not perceive the City as supportive on storm water issues.
- Slightly over
sixty percent (62.5%) of residents believed City government has been
moving in the right direction in the last year, almost one-fourth (23.8%)
thought it has not been moving in the right direction and the remainder
(13.8%) had no opinion. Minority residents (77.4%) were more likely
than whites (60.2%) to say the City has been moving in the right direction.
- Among those who
think the City has not been moving in the right direction, major reasons
cited were mismanagement of money (24.2%), progress too slow (17.9%),
special interests too influential (16.9%), disagree with priorities
(16.8%), roundabout fiasco (14.7%), not listen to citizens (14.7%) and
put developers before citizens (11.6%).
- When asked if
the City is adequately balancing the needs of infrastructure maintenance/repair
with redevelopment, forty-two percent (42.0%) said yes, forty percent
(40.3%) said no and eighteen percent (17.8%) did not express an opinion.
Residents of Countryside were slightly less likely than those of other
areas to say the City is balancing infrastructure and redevelopment
- Among those who
felt the needs of infrastructure and redevelopment are not being adequately
balanced, a strong majority (83.9%) stated too much attention is being
devoted to redevelopment as opposed to too much attention being devoted
to infrastructure (16.1%).
- When asked what
the City could do a better job at, twenty-one percent of those surveyed
(20.5%) said roundabout resolution and approximately one in five (21.6%)
gave a response related to traffic (traffic control/flow = 12.3% and
traffic congestion = 9.3%). Other areas where the City could do a better
job mentioned by a statistically significant number of residents were:
downtown revitalization (8.5%), beach/downtown parking (8.0%), road
maintenance/improvements (6.8%), fiscal conservatism (5.8%) and listening
to citizens (5.5%).
- Sixty-two percent
(61.5%) of residents identified at least one thing they think the City
does an outstanding job at. Among these residents major responses included
police/security (23.6%), parks maintenance/nice (20.3%), keep city clean
(14.6%), landscaping/beautiful (13.4%), trash/waste removal (12.2%),
fire/ emergency services (11.4%) and provision of basic services (11.4%).
- With respect to
financing downtown redevelopment almost one-half of those surveyed (48.8%)
said they would be most likely to support mostly private funding with
limited concessions to developers as opposed to a balance of public/
private funding (37.5%) or mostly public funding financed by tax increases
(4.8%). Generally, whites and multi-person households without children
under age 13 were more likely than their respective counterparts to
support mostly private funding with limited concessions to developers.
Almost one in ten residents (8.5%) indicated they do not support downtown
- With respect to
financing beach redevelopment residents were even more divided with
respect to which financing option they are most likely to support, with
forty-one percent (41.0%) supporting a balance of public/private funding
and an equal number (40.8%) supporting mostly private funding with limited
concessions to developers. Eight percent (8.0%)favored mostly public
funding financed by tax increases. Likelihood of supporting a balance
of public/private funding declined with increasing age, that is, the
older the resident the less likely he/she was to support a balance of
public/private funding. Again, one in ten residents (9.5%) indicated
they do not support beach redevelopment.
- When asked if
it would be acceptable for the City to cut services in order to keep
its budget balanced and not raise taxes, a little less than one-half
(44.3%) said it depends on which services would be cut, approximately
three in ten (31.3%) indicated it would be acceptable and two in ten
(20.3%) said it would not be acceptable. Males and those not registered
to vote were more likely than their respective counterparts to indicate
unequivocally they would accept a cut in services.
- A majority of
residents (52.3%) stated they did not participate in the past 12 months
in any of the opportunities for public input about which they were queried.
Females, those not registered to vote, those under age 30 and those
residing in Southeast Clearwater were less likely than their respective
counterparts to have participated in any public input opportunity.
- One-fourth (25.3%)
of residents said they accessed the City web site in the last 12 months.
PUBLIC INPUT PARTICIPATION (%)
|City Commission Meeting
|City Board Meeting
|Crime Watch Meeting
|Other Public Meeting
|Accessing City Web Site
|Letter to City Official
|Letter to Newspaper Editor
|None of the above
- Forty-five percent
(45.0%) of the residents surveyed said they had called a City department
in the past 12 months. Those residing in Central Clearwater were the
most likely to have made a call; those residing in Southeast Clearwater
were least likely.
- Almost nine in
ten (88.9%) of those making a call to a City department stated they
were treated courteously. Unsolicited comments made by some residents
who felt they were not treated courteously suggest that employees not
returning phone calls may be a prime factor in perceptions of discourtesy.
- Ninety percent
(90.0%) of those placing a call had a problem. Of these, slightly more
than one-third (35.8%) indicated their problem was not resolved quickly.
Registered voters were slightly more likely than those not registered
to vote to say their problem was resolved quickly.
- A very strong
majority of all residents (90.5%) were satisfied overall with the level
of city services they receive.
- Among the 33 residents
who were dissatisfied with the level of service received, major reasons
offered for dissatisfaction were: city slow resolving problems (24.2%),
not resolve problem (21.2%), have to make repeated calls (15.2%), city
not customer oriented (12.1%), inconsistent/no code enforcement (12.1%)
and poor road maintenance (12,1%).
- All but eight
percent (8.3%) of the residents surveyed had visited during the past
year at least one of the City facilities about which they were queried.
- Citizens use city
facilities, particularly the library and parks. Almost four in five
of the residents surveyed (79.0%) said they visited the library in the
past year. Two-thirds (67.3%) visited Coachman Park and a majority (57.5%)
visited a park other than Coachman in the past year.
CITY FACILITIES VISITED PAST YEAR (%)
|Jack Russell Stadium
|None of the above
were more likely than males to have visited the library in the past
12 months (83% to 75%, respectively).
- Visitation to
Coachman Park declined directly with increasing age. Those residing
in Countryside were least likely to have visited Coachman Park. Those
65 years of age or older were also the most likely not to have visited
another park in the past 12 months.
- Those residing
on the Beach were the most likely to have visited the Marina and the
- Males were more
likely than females to have visited Jack Russell Stadium (27% to 14%,
- Among mainland
residents, one in five (20.7%) did not visit the beach during the past
12 months. Not visiting the beach tended to increase with age. About
one-third (34.3%) of mainland residents visited the beach 1 to 5 times
in the past year; eleven percent (11.0%) visited it 50 or more times.
(Mean = 13.9; Mode = 5.0)
It is clear from the
data that Clearwater is held in high regard by its citizens. Strong majorities
of residents believe that Clearwater is a safe, healthy and caring place
to live that offers a quality of life that is above average or excellent.
Nine in ten are satisfied overall with the level of City services received.
Good majorities think the City is supportive of its neighborhoods on a
wide range of issues. In the resident mind the most outstanding features
of Clearwater appear to be the cleanliness and beauty of the City, the
well maintained parks with their concerts and other events, and the quality
of performance of the police and fire departments.
Residents are fully
aware that Clearwater has a number of issues it will need to address over
the coming five years, most notably issues related to traffic, water,
downtown and beach redevelopment, budget resources and maintaining the
quality of life. While six in ten residents believe City government has
been moving in the right direction over the past year, some expressed
concern among other things about "wasteful spending", the slow
pace of progress, the influence of special interests on decisions, the
roundabout "fiasco" and the responsiveness of city officials
to citizen wishes. Residents appear to be about equally divided on whether
or not the City is adequately balancing the needs of infrastructure with
those of redevelopment, with most of those who think there is not a balance
believing more attention is being placed on redevelopment rather than
infrastructure. Major areas in which the City could do a better job identified
by residents included traffic control/flow, roundabout resolution, downtown
revitalization, beach/downtown parking, road maintenance/improvements,
fiscal conservatism and listening to citizens.
Public opinion is
split with respect to how both downtown and beach redevelopment should
be financed. Some favored a balance of public and private funding while
others favored mostly private funding. Generally residents are slightly
more likely to be willing to support mostly private funding with limited
concessions to developers to finance downtown redevelopment than they
are to support this option for financing beach redevelopment. Mostly public
funding financed by tax increases appears to be an unacceptable option
to most residents. For the most part residents appear to be unwilling
to accept a cut in services in order to keep the City budget balanced
and not raise taxes. Some reject this idea outright while many others
say their opinion on the issue would depend on their agreement with the
services that would be cut.