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Survey Says: Results of the 2014 Community Survey

The results of the 2014 Community Survey are in, and overall, the citizens of Prince William County are very satisfied with the performance of their County government. The survey showed that county residents enjoy a high quality of life, receive effective and efficient services from their government, feel safe in their communities, and report they receive high value for their tax dollars. Survey results remained on par with the last survey conducted in 2012.

Communities such as Prince William County conduct community surveys to gain insight into public satisfaction with their government. Surveys can also track changes in demographics and provide insight into issues of importance to the community.

The survey was administered by an independent party, ORC International, a demographic, health and market research group based in Princeton, N.J. A total of 1,831 people completed the survey, which has a plus or minus 2.3-percent margin of error.

In the 2014 survey, 91 percent of respondents indicated that they were happy with the quality of life in Prince William County. People who agreed that the county’s overall quality of services met or exceeded their expectations rose from 90 percent to 91percent in 2014; and eight out of 10 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that county employees were courteous and helpful.

The survey also showed that 86 percent of residents believe that the county provides services and facilities that are a good value for their tax dollar. This is the highest score ever for this question since the County began surveying in 1993. The majority of residents (84 percent) trust the County to do the right thing; and 91 percent of those surveyed agreed that the County provides efficient and effective services.

People continue to feel safe in their community, with 93 percent agreeing that they feel safe in their neighborhoods and when they visit commercial areas. They rated the overall performance of the county’s fire and rescue service, as well as the skill and reliability of emergency service providers and promptness and reliability of firefighters, at 98 percent. Quick police response and courteous police officers led to an overall 93 percent approval rating for the Police Department.

“The Board of County Supervisors is committed to making Prince William County a community of choice; and to do so, we must find out what we are doing well and what we need to improve upon by listening to our residents,” said Chairman Corey A. Stewart. “I am proud of the outstanding service our county staff provides. And the fact that residents feel they can trust their local government and that they are getting good value for their tax dollar is confirmation that this Board is on the right track.”

The area that scored lower in the 2014 survey was transportation. The feeling among respondents that transportation and road systems adequately support current development fell from 68 percent in 2012 to 62 percent in 2014. In 2012, 84 percent of people felt they could easily get around the county in their cars. By 2014, that number dropped to 80 percent. Although this satisfaction rating is much higher than before the county began its road program, it demonstrates that citizens are still concerned about road congestion. This was reinforced when the largest number of respondents (44 percent) stated a traffic or transportation-related item was the most important issue for the County to address.

“Previous surveys have told us that traffic is an issue,” said Stewart. “Therefore, knowing that the state was unable to help us in this area, we committed to building our own roads. We have the largest, local road building program in the Commonwealth. And we continue to work on this area to help residents get around more quickly and efficiently.”

Prince William County has conducted an annual resident survey since 1993, and went to a biennial survey beginning in 2012. The County performs the survey to measure changes in resident’s opinions from year to year; to assess residents’ perceptions of the overall quality life in the county; and to assess perceptions of County services.

To review previous community survey results, visit www.pwcgov.org/accountability.
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