St. Albert residents are generally satisfied with their city and with municipal services, but some issues continue to raise concerns for residents, according to the Community Satisfaction Survey.
"Feedback from residents indicates St. Albert is a great place to live and municipal services are overall meeting residents' expectations," said Mayor Nolan Crouse.
The vast majority of residents, at 62 per cent, said their quality of life is "very good" with 37 per cent responding "good." When asked if their quality of life changed in the last year, 71 per cent said it stayed the same, with 13 per cent noting their quality of life declined.
Common sources of contention amongst respondents continued to be high taxes, crime – particularly youth crime and vandalism – and governance.
High taxes was the No. 1 factor contributing to a low quality of life, with 37 per cent of respondents selecting this, followed by crime with 13 per cent and governance at eight per cent.
Respondents saying they received excellent, very good or good value for tax dollars declined from 68 per cent in 2010 to 57 per cent in 2012. An inflationary tax strategy was supported by 65 per cent of respondents.
"The only pressing issue is the one that we always have, namely, of high taxes to resolve and attracting business, which we are working on," said councillor Cam McKay.
Despite a decrease in crime, 69 per cent of respondents felt St. Albert was a safe place to live, compared to 91 per cent in 2010.
"The community safety [statistic] is very interesting and statistically significant, I believe," Crouse said. "The amount of crime in general is decreasing."
The primary issues of concern included youth vandalism, drugs and theft.
Although a majority of respondents, 60 per cent, were satisfied with how the city is run, 16 per cent disagreed.
"There was a decrease in the proportion of respondents who agreed that council is effectively planning for the future of the community," said Maya Pungur-Buick, director of corporate communications.
In 2012, 45 per cent of respondents felt that council planned effectively for the future. This fell 14 per cent from 59 per cent in 2010.
The top three priorities respondents want to see addressed by council in the coming year are community development, economic development and governance.
"I found it quite eye-opening and unsettling, actually when I read it. I think we have some work to do to get back up to a level that I would be satisfied with," said Coun. Cathy Heron.
The Community Satisfaction Survey was conducted between April 30 and May 9 and surveyed 800 residents – 200 in each quadrant – 18 years of age or older. Of the 800 however, only four were under the age of 35, 14 under age 45 and the mean age was 58 years.
Nearly 7,100 phone calls were made before the 800-respondent quota was met, with 2,075 individuals refusing to be surveyed.
"Given the time of year this survey was conducted, there was a number of polls being completed both provincially and federally," said Tracy With, senior associate with Banister Research & Consulting Inc.
The Community Satisfaction Survey was conducted following the provincial election and With said individuals were saturated with surveys. Although the refusal rate was higher than normal, With said it was consistent with a number of municipal surveys conducted in a similar timeframe.
The 25-minute survey is conducted every two years and is aimed at receiving feedback from residents on their satisfaction with the municipal government.
Results provide a margin of error no greater than +/- 3.5 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level, or 19 times out of 20.
For full results of the survey, visit www.stalbert.ca/community-satisfaction-survey.