Newcastle residents have an overwhelmingly positive perception of the community they call home. The results of the City’s Community Satisfaction Survey show that citizens value Newcastle as a place to live and raise a family.

During the Jan. 21, 2020, meeting, Newcastle Councilmembers got a breakdown of the statistically-valid survey administered by nationally-recognized ETC Institute. In his presentation to the Council, ETC Institute’s Ryan Murray praised Newcastle leaders, noting that results show citizens’ satisfaction with City services is much higher than other communities.

“Overall, results are really positive,” Murray said. “Folks are really satisfied living in Newcastle.”

Newcastle scored high marks in community livability, with 92 percent of residents indicating they were very satisfied or satisfied with the overall quality life. That compares favorably to the national average of 72 percent. Similarly, 88 percent of citizens indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with Newcastle as a place to raise children, far outpacing the regional average of 59 percent.

The City services that residents are most satisfied with are: 1.) Fire and emergency medical services (87 percent), 2.) City parks, trails and open space (87 percent), 3.) Local police protection (81 percent) and 4.) Maintenance of City streets and rights-of-way (79 percent). All of those percentages figure above the national and regional averages. But Murray highlighted in particular the satisfaction with street maintenance, a major deficiency for most communities.

“Newcastle’s strengths are actually most communities’ weaknesses. You should be really proud of everyone that works for the City,” he said, before praising Public Works Director Jeff Brauns.

The survey, which City leaders will use as tool to guide decision-making, also identified opportunities for investment and improvement. For example, the community investment areas that residents thought were most important for the City to emphasize were: 1.) Adding infrastructure to downtown and 2.) Incentivizing development. Additionally, Citizens indicated the City should focus on street congestion management, regulating development and expanding transit options, as some areas for growth.

“This survey will be a valuable tool used to measure the progress of Council priorities and help plan for the future,” City Manager Rob Wyman said. “The residents’ overall satisfaction with the City and their opinions on customer service and programs is critical to our ongoing progress.”

ETC Institute collected a total of 473 surveys representing a demographically-accurate snapshot of the community. Murray praised the thoughtfulness of Newcastle respondents, noting that they spent more time and put more care into the survey than other communities.

Resources: Newcastle Community Survey (Full Report) | Newcastle Community Survey Results (Presentation)

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