Yakima city manager promises change following survey results

Yakima city manager promises change following survey results

CITY OF YAKIMA NEWS RELEASE -- Results from the 2012 Yakima Citizen Survey, which was designed to gauge public opinion about City services and priorities as well as quality of life issues, indicate that people who took the survey believe several aspects of the community should be improved, ranging from street repair and employment opportunities to crime prevention and the overall reputation of Yakima.

“The City Council made a commitment to listen to and learn from the community and expected
to get honest and unvarnished feedback, and that’s exactly what it got,” said City Manager Tony
O’Rourke. “The survey results are, by in large, critical and definitely show there’s room for
improvement. However, the up side is that the survey has provided us with benchmarks the
City will use to track progress as it refines its priorities and operations to best meet the needs of
the community,” said O’Rourke.

O’Rourke said key findings from the survey, such as only 21% of the respondents rating street
repairs as “good” or “excellent”, 15% rating code enforcement as “good” or “excellent”, and just
28% rating the overall direction that Yakima is taking as “good” or “excellent”, provide the City
with a clear indication of areas it needs to focus on and enhance.

Among the more positive results from the survey, 84% of the respondents rated fire services as
“good” or “excellent”, 80% gave the same rating to garbage collection, and 88% “strongly
support” or “somewhat support” implementation of a curbside recycling program.

The results of the survey, which was mailed to 3000 randomly-selected Yakima households
earlier this summer, will play a central role in the development of a strategic plan for the City, a
process that will begin in earnest at the August 28th City Council retreat.

National Research Center, Inc. (“NRC”) conducted the survey for the City and produced three reports from the mail-in results. The reports include overall results, results by City Council
district, and a comparison of the Yakima results to those of similar surveys conducted by NRC
in about 400 other cities across the country. All three reports can be found in the Notable
section on the front page of the City website (www.yakimawa.gov).

The mail-in survey was completed by 837 people for a 29% response rate. Typical response
rates for other citizen surveys conducted by NRC nationwide range from 25% to 40%.
Earlier this month, a second phase of the survey process was launched when the questionnaire
was made available on line. Results from that phase of the survey are expected to be compiled
by mid September.