CabCo’s the way to go

Resident rankings show strong support for Cabarrus County in 2016 Community Survey 

  
 
 
May 4, 2016 — It’s one thing for a publication to rank a community as the best place to live, but what happens when a county asks its residents to answer tough questions about quality of services, tax value and quality of life?
 
At the May 2 Board of Commissioners work session, Cabarrus County released the 2016 Community Survey Findings Report. The biennial survey, administered by ETC Institute, measured several factors, including satisfaction; perception; customer service; funding; and department-specific questions for the County’s library, elections, communications, public transportation, emergency, and active living and parks services.
 
“Cabarrus County is doing an exceptional job providing services to residents,” said Jason Morado, senior project manager for ETC Institute. “The County rated above the national average in all 18 areas that were compared. What especially stands out is that Cabarrus rated significantly above the national average regarding the overall quality of services provided to citizens, and the overall value citizens receive for tax dollars and fees.”
 
Among residents with an opinion, 79% indicated they were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the overall quality of County services offered to citizens and 68% indicated they were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the value received for tax dollars and fees.

 

The 10 areas in which the County outperformed the national average most are: 
  • How quickly County staff responded to residents
  • How well your issue was handled by County employees
  • Accuracy of information and assistance given by County employee
  • The way you were treated by County employees
  • Overall quality of County services
  • Value received for tax dollars/fees
  • How easy the County was to contact
  • Feeling of safety in neighborhoods at night
  • Feeling of safety in County parks
  • Pace of growth

 

 
Within the general perception category, Cabarrus residents ranked the County higher than the U.S. average for quality of life, image of the County and ease of travel in the County.
 
Among perceptions of safety, residents ranked Cabarrus above the U.S. average in feeling of safety in neighborhoods during the day, and significantly higher than the U.S. average for feeling of safety in County parks and feeling of safety in neighborhoods at night.
 
In addition, residents are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with Cabarrus County as a place to live (92%); as a place to raise children (90%); as a place to retire (78%); and as a place to work (76%). In each of these categories, Cabarrus residents ranked the County above the U.S. average.
 
ETC Institute also examined the importance residents placed on various aspects of living in Cabarrus County and the level of satisfaction with each area. The analysis identified the top priorities of residents as employment opportunities, protecting water quality and the environment, crime prevention and pace of growth, respectively.
 
In areas of satisfaction with customer service, Cabarrus rated significantly higher than the U.S. average in all categories, which include way customer was treated, accuracy of information/assistance given, responsiveness of staff, ease of contact and how well employees handled issues.
 
ETC Institute sent the survey to a random sample of 1,200 households in February, with 604 completions—the highest response percentage ETC Institute ever received. The overall results for the survey have a precision of at least +/-4% at the 95% level of confidence.
 
 

Key findings

 
According to ETC Institute, Cabarrus County is setting the standard with regard to the overall quality of County services, scoring at or above the national average for all 18 areas comparatively assessed on the survey. The County rated significantly above the national average in 10 areas (see box). 
 

Priorities

County issues: Among 15 County issues rated by residents, crime prevention (53%), Cabarrus County Schools’ education facilities (38%), protecting water quality and the environment (37%), and employment opportunities (34%) are the most important.
 
County programs and services: Among the 17 County services rated by residents, emergency preparedness (51%), economic development (48%) and land use planning (45%) rated at the top of the list as top priorities over the next five to 10 years to preserve/enhance the overall quality of life in the County.
 
Perception of the County: Among the 12 items that influence resident perception of the County, the items that received the highest satisfaction ratings are the County as a place to live (92%), the County as a place to raise children (90%) and the feeling of safety in neighborhoods during the day (90%).
 
Overall satisfaction stayed the same or improved in 30 of the 49 areas rated in 2014. There were statistically significant improvements in two of the 49 areas, with only one significant decrease.

Notable short-term increases

  • Employment opportunities
  • Library operating hours
  • The County as a place to work
  • Local response following a natural disaster

Notable short-term decreases

  •  Protecting water quality and the environment
  • Animal Control services
  • County Fair
  • Cabarrus Arena and Events Center