Survey Says: Miami Beach continues to be a better place

According to the most recent Miami Beach Community Satisfaction Survey, a majority (89 percent) of resident respondents reported that their overall quality of life within the City of Miami Beach is either excellent or good. In addition, a record high, 89 percent reported Miami Beach as an “excellent” or “good” place to live.

“We take public input very seriously. The survey results provide us general feedback on their [residents and businesses] level of satisfaction with the services we provide,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jorge M. Gonzalez. “They are also used in strategically planning our budget and resources.”

The 2012 residential and business surveys, conducted by Kerr and Downs Research, are the Miami Beach’s fourth set of comprehensive statistically valid community satisfaction surveys since 2005. Over 1,800 residents and over 900 businesses were surveyed earlier this year.

Overall, the 2012 results were similar to 2009 survey results. A substantial number of services received positive ratings ranging from 70 to 90 percent of the residents. As with the residential surveys, the overall snapshot of business ratings were not significantly different from the 2009 ratings. A substantial number of services received positive ratings from businesses ranging from 70 to 95 percent.

When compared to the 2009 survey, several services were higher and generally up, rating in the 80 to 95 percent range by both residents and businesses. Some examples include the following: Public schools (91 percent of residents rating excellent or good) and fire (91 percent of residents and 93 percent of businesses rating excellent or good) were the highest rated overall services.

Services that received comparatively high percentages of positive ratings from both residents and businesses included:

appearance and maintenance of public buildings (87 percent of residents and 83 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); quality of beaches (84 percent of residents and 86 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); park maintenance (82 percent of residents and 86 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); garbage & trash pick-up (81 percent of residents and 71 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); landscape maintenance (79 percent of residents and 80 percent of businesses rating excellent or good).

Customer service ratings remained mostly stable from 2009 to 2012 with high percentages of residents and businesses giving City employees’ high marks for professionalism (85 percent of residents and 81 percent of businesses rating excellent or good) and competency (75 percent of residents and 74 percent of businesses rating excellent or good).

In addition to the above positive results, residents’ standard of living outlook improved significantly from 53 percent positive ratings in 2009 to 80 percent ratings in 2012. Quality of life was up four percentage points from 2009 to 89 percent in 2012. Residents also provided positive ratings for recreation programs (85 percent); playground appearance (84 percent); neighborhood noise (75 percent); and capital improvements (81 percent).

Business ratings for many other services were also high in 2012, with 80 percent positive ratings for business improvement compared to 49 percent in 2009.

Additional areas showing improvement from both residents and businesses include parking availability; emergency response; cultural activities; and number of major events. Value of information from the City also received high ratings.

Both residents and businesses rated neighborhood and commercial safety in both the daytime and nighttime as high. However, police department ratings dropped for both residents and businesses (from 84 to 66 percent and 81 to 71 percent, respectively).

Ratings for cleanliness (74 percent of residents and 62 percent of businesses rating excellent or good) remained stable between 2009 and 2012, but continue to be significantly improved from the 2005 survey results.

The survey also identified areas where improvements could be made. For both residents and businesses, these continue to be the following: storm drainage (37 percent of both residents and businesses rating excellent or good); addressing homelessness (42 percent of residents and 69 percent of businesses rating excellent or good), although homelessness improved from 2005 levels (31 percent and 25 percent respectively); traffic flow (27 percent of residents and 34 percent of businesses rating excellent or good); conditions of roads (44 percent of residents and 40 percent of businesses rating excellent or good).

Over half of the businesses reported being inspected by the building department in the past three years, with the department receiving low to moderate ratings. Contact with the building department was also identified as an area for improvement, with only 47% of business describing their experience with building as positive. Business owners and managers identified high property taxes, high rent, and high insurance costs as their greatest challenges.

Value of services, a difficult measure for cities to rate highly on, declined since 2009 with 56 percent of residents and 52 percent of businesses giving a positive rating for the value of services for taxes paid. They do, however, remain above the 2005 survey levels (50 percent and 41 percent respectively).

In 2005, the City of Miami Beach formalized a performance-based approach for allocating resources based on the City’s Strategic Plan priorities and supporting department work plans based on the City’s excellence model. Akey component of this process is the Community Satisfaction Survey.

The first set of community surveys were conducted in 2005 and the second set in 2007. These were followed by focus groups in 2006 and 2008 to get more in-depth information on issues identified through each of those surveys. The third set of surveys were conducted in 2009.


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