A recent poll conducted by the city of Santa Clarita showed that while the participation rate significantly increased, the most important community issues perceived by the public have remained the same over the years.
From a random sample of 968 respondents, residents cited traffic congestion as the most critical issue facing Santa Clarita, which garnered 37 percent of responses, according to the report released this week.
The previous public opinion poll, conducted in 2016, surveyed 570 residents in which 19 percent also said traffic was the most significant local problem. The same issue came in second at nearly 20 percent in 2014.
Traffic was followed by growth and development at 26 percent. The 2016 poll revealed that residents placed the drought among the top three concerns but it was replaced in this year’s survey with mentions of public safety, crime and drugs at 17 percent.
These top three issues are not unique to Santa Clarita, however. Many Southern California communities have listed traffic, growth and development and preserving open space as major concerns, a pattern consistent following the 2008 recession, according to the report.
But perhaps one of the most notable changes in responses, when compared to previous years, was that among the top four responses of most important issues was that almost 14 percent of those surveyed said they found zero concerns facing the community. In 2016, this response received 3.8 percent and nearly 1 percent in 2014.
“As our city continues to grow, these issues will continue, but of that question, it’s important to note that among the top four responses is that there are no issues,” said Rebecca Widdison, a city management analyst.
Every other year, the city conducts public opinion polls to determine potential areas of improvement and learn how residents feel about the city’s overall performance. This year’s hired consultant, True North Research, which conducted the surveys both online and by telephone in October, said changes for recruiting, such as mailed invitations, enhanced the participation rate by almost 70 percent.
When it came to funding priorities, approximately nine out of 10 residents viewed improving the maintenance of streets and roads and attracting new businesses and jobs to the city as a high or medium priority.
Nearly 90 percent of residents surveyed said they were satisfied with the city’s overall efforts to provide municipal services, which contributed to defining a high quality of life for residents. Data showed that the vast majority (83 percent) rated the overall quality of life in Santa Clarita as excellent or good, with an 88-percent rating as an excellent or good place to raise a family.
With regard to communication, 70 percent of participants said they were satisfied with the city’s efforts to communicate with residents and for city information, those surveyed said their No. 1 news source is the Santa Clarita Valley Signal (30 percent), followed by social media (24 percent) and the internet (18 percent).
“The 2018 results are overwhelmingly positive and reflect high quality of life that shows the city is on the right track with projects and services,” said Widdison.
The complete survey summary report is now available online at santa-clarita.com/city-hall/public-opinion-polls.