Citizen survey: residents pleased with police, library services

By Angie Hilsman | Aug 01, 2017
Courtesy of: Town of Dartmouth

Respondents to an online survey about the town said they were most pleased with police and library services.

Nearly 56 percent of the 201 respondents gave the police department an "excellent" rating, with another 32 percent rating the police department "good." Thirty-two percent of respondents said the library service was "excellent," while another 40 percent said it was "good."

The Survey Monkey-style format allowed participants to rate the town’s services and departments as “excellent,” “good,” “fair,” “poor,” or “don’t know.” The link to the online survey was provided on the town website and was not advertised, town officials said.

"Library and parks very often rate really high," said Town Administrator David Cressman. "The police, I was very please to see, rated highly."

About 80 percent of respondents rated the parks and beaches as either "excellent" or "good." About 11 percent of participants gave the same category either a "fair" or "poor" rating.

About 40 percent of participants gave emergency medical services an "excellent" rating, while nearly 33 percent said they “didn’t know.”

Street repairs, customer service in town hall, waste collection, recycling collection, the building department, and planning and zoning were also rated through the survey.

Overall, survey takers were pleased with town services. The only services with a "poor" rating above 10 percent were street repair (16.23 percent) and planning and zoning (10.58 percent). However, about 42 percent rated street repair services as "good." Nearly 40 percent didn't know how to rate planning and zoning.

Participants were also asked to weigh in on how they felt about roads, safety, and community with "strongly agree," "agree," "neutral," "disagree," "strongly disagree," or "don't know."

The schools were not rated, but more than 85 percent of survey participants either agreed or strongly agreed that Dartmouth is a good place to raise children. Zero respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with that statement. Only 20.9 percent of participants said they have children in the Dartmouth schools.

Nearly 87 percent of participants either agreed or strongly agreed that Dartmouth is a safe town. About 45 percent said the roads were well maintained, with about 30 percent disagreeing with that statement, and about 25 percent responding "neutral."

About 67 percent of participants said that they are satisfied with the appearance of town; about 10 percent disagreed. Nearly 62 percent felt the town had a strong sense of community; about 10 percent disagreed.

About 62 percent of respondents said the town was good at providing information to the public; about 11 percent disagreed.

About 76 percent of participants said they were happy with the town's open and recreational spaces, while about seven percent disagreed.

About 50 percent of the survey takers were from North Dartmouth; 48 percent indicated that they were from South Dartmouth. Nearly half of the respondents said they had lived in town for more than 25 years, with another 22 percent indicating that they had lived in town 10-25 years.

Most survey takers were between the ages of 40 and 64 (51.74 percent). Nearly 4.5 percent of participants were between 0 and 24 years old, 20.90 percent were between ages 25 and 39, and nearly 23 percent were 65 years old or older.

Dartmouth has about 33,000 residents.

The survey was presented at the July 31 Select Board meeting as part of the DartStat presentation. DartStat is a data aggregation program that sorts through information to help increase efficiency in town. The data is collected and arranged into easy-to-digest charts and graphs that can be used by town officials to spot trends.

(Courtesy of: Town of Dartmouth)
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