Every two years, the City of Woodbury surveys randomly selected households using the Community Survey. Through the survey, residents rate city services and the quality of life in Woodbury. They also give their opinions about some specific issues and potential projects.
The survey is conducted via mail in partnership with National Research Center (NRC), a Colorado survey research firm. NRC conducts community surveys all over the country, allowing us to compare our survey ratings to approximately 70 comparable communities (between 55,000 and 75,000 population) nationwide. The data gathered also will be compared with up to approximately 40 municipalities in Minnesota.
The results provide valuable feedback to the City Council about our ongoing services. The data collected is used to determine whether the city is meeting citizens' expectations and areas where improvements could be made.
Because so much helpful information is gained from the survey, funds are set aside to conduct community surveys on a biennial basis. This has allowed the city to track its performance through a phone or mailed survey every two years since 1993.
Planning & Measuring Performance
The survey also functions as a planning tool. After receiving the results, City Council undertakes strategic planning to identify issues that deserve a more detailed approach than day-to-day business operations. As part of identifying strategic issues, Council looks at how well the community is doing in a number of areas that are crucial to the success of the city. Citizen opinions expressed in the survey directly relate to many of the critical areas reviewed.
The survey results also are a key component of the performance measurement program. Like any successful organization, the city needs to know how satisfied its customers (citizens) are with the services provided. Staff tracks more than 250 performance trends in city services. For example, the average amount of time it takes to completely plow streets after a snow storm is monitored. By monitoring performance, the Council can determine if service is improving or declining, and whether adjustments to resources are needed in a particular area.
A number of the performance measures are tied directly to data coming out of the community survey. For instance, the city tracks the percentage of residents who rate a service as excellent, good or fair. When the city budget is prepared, the performance measures help Council evaluate what residents are getting for the money the city spends and whether the city is providing citizens with good value for the tax dollars they pay.