The recently presented the results of the 2011 Priorities Survey, a survey of residents on their opinions of St. Charles. The survey has been administered since 1996 and is used to measure satisfaction with community initiatives and programs, guide future decision-making and improve services.
The results showed the following:
- St. Charles is valued as a place to live.
- Services are viewed favorably and worthy of taxes paid.
- Communication with residents is viewed positively.
- Opinions of community appearance have improved.
- Views regarding downtown St. Charles have improved.
More importantly, the ratings reflect a strong recognition that St. Charles continues to provide high level of service given the economic climate.
In 2011, more than 96 percent of respondents rated St. Charles as a “good” or “excellent” place to live. This is comparable with prior surveys. However, the number of respondents who rate St. Charles as "excellent" increased to 57 percent, an increase of 11 percent from 2009. In prior surveys, the percentage of "excellent" ratings has ranged from a low of 39 percent in 2001 to 48 percent in 2007.
Other important findings from the survey are:
- 77 percent of respondents rated the city's communication efforts as "good" or "excellent." This represents a 6 percent increase from 2009.
- 72 percent of respondents believe that "Community Appearance" has improved, a 1.5 percent increase from 2009.
- 70 percent of respondents believe the downtown has improved, an increase of 1 percent from 2009.
- Public safety services received extremely high marks from those that needed them.
- Maintenance of infrastructure and utility systems was viewed favorably.
Additional data from the survey results shows that 30 percent of respondents rated traffic circulation for trips across the Fox River as "poor" or "very poor." The intersection of Route 31 and Route 64 was cited numerous times as a difficult area to navigate. The construction of the Red Gate Bridge will improve that situation by providing an alternative to those who live north of Main Street.
East Main Street was identified as an area of concern with over 40 percent of respondents rating the appearance of the area as "poor" or "very poor." The reconstruction and widening of East Main Street from Seventh Avenue to Pheasant Run will improve the appearance of the corridor and should provide long-term benefits to property owners and businesses in the area. In addition, the city is working to evaluate the potential of a special taxing district for East Main Street to encourage the redevelopment of older, tired buildings and properties.
The past three resident surveys have shown some dissatisfaction with drinking water quality with 18-20 percent of respondents rating it "poor" or "very poor." The City Council has previously elected not to pursue a city-wide system to soften water; however, the construction and operation of the city's new Radium Removal facility will condition water for many St. Charles residents and improve quality.
In conclusion, the 2011 survey is considered to be a great success. Residents are very satisfied with overall quality of life in the community and the services the city provides. The ratings also reflect strong recognition that St. Charles continues to provide a high level of service given the economic climate. Finally, while there are areas identified for improvement, the city is already working on many programs and initiatives to address these concerns.
Thank you to all residents who participated in the survey and, more importantly, thank you for your positive feedback on the services that the City provides!