Northwest NEWS

April 1, 2002

Local News

Survey reflects satisfaction with city services and quality of life

WOODINVILLE What one word best describes the city of Woodinville? A recent random telephone survey revealed most residents feel Woodinville is friendly, pleasant and nice.
   In late February, 266 city residents were interviewed by Hebert Research Inc. to gauge overall satisfaction with Woodinville city government and quality of life.
   The survey was commissioned by the City Council to provide baseline information to measure change and progress toward city goals. The statistically valid data was presented to the City Council on March 11 prior to their annual spring retreat.
   "The City Council is pleased to learn that the community rates their satisfaction with city government as above average and rates their overall quality of life in Woodinville as highly satisfied," notes Mayor Scott Hageman. "As we continually strive for excellence, this validates our effort to provide city services that citizens care about and that contribute positively to their quality of life."
   Hageman acknowledges the city has some work to do, especially with traffic, but believes the survey reflects the city is heading in the right direction with planned projects.
   In addition to questions regarding recent contact with the city and quality of life, residents responded to specific questions about the city's waste water treatment facility and budget priorities, particularly the Old Woodinville School building.
   Quality of Life
   Residents contacted for the survey were asked to rate quality of life in Woodinville, on a 0 to 10 scale, with zero meaning "not at all satisfied" and 10 meaning "highly satisfied." Nearly 70 percent of respondents rated quality of life as high (8 to 10 rating) but suggest reducing traffic congestion, making the downtown area more pedestrian friendly and attractive and building/expanding parks would best improve their quality of life.
   The majority of respondents felt that quality of life has either improved considerably or improved somewhat in the past five years.
   On the same rating scale, survey participants rated their overall satisfaction with specific quality of life issues. Respondents generally were most satisfied with Woodinville as being a good place to raise children (7.84 rating), as a safe community (7.29 rating) and with Woodinville's natural environment (7.00 rating).
   City Services
   In the past 12 months, survey respondents most often used the following services: parks, trails and pedestrian paths (38.9 percent); special/holiday events (20.5 percent); and the community center sports fields (8.2 percent). When asked to rate their overall level of satisfaction with Woodinville city government, residents generally gave above- average ratings.
   Keeping residents informed via the city's newsletter, website, legal notices and local advertising received the highest rating, followed by helpful staff and maintaining adequate parks and recreational facilities.
   The survey revealed the overall satisfaction ratings of the Woodinville government are significantly related to the specific ratings for various service areas.
   For example, user-friendly permit processes and helpful and available staff are the most influential areas affecting how a citizen feels about Woodinville's government. Ratings of city services are also significantly related to the overall quality-of-life ratings given by the survey respondents.
   Community Issues
   The survey revealed that 85 percent of respondents have Internet access at home, 65 percent are aware the city has an Internet website and 42 percent have visited the website.
   When asked what website services the city should offer, respondents identified notification of upcoming events, City Council meeting agendas and minutes, and parks and recreation registration and reservation.
   Eighty-two percent of respondents feel they are highly prepared or somewhat prepared for a natural disaster such as an earthquake. The survey further revealed that respondents, on average, are moderately-high in their support for the city's annual funding of human service grants to provide assistance to low income residents and families in need.
   If the proposed Brightwater Wastewater Treatment facility is located in the Grace area on Highway 9, Woodinville residents are most concerned with the possible impact on water quality (41.3 percent) and the potential odor (22.4 percent).
   Budget Priorities
   Survey participants were asked about their opinion of the Civic Center Master Plan adopted last year. The Plan calls for the preservation of the Old Woodinville School on NE 175th Street, use of C.O. Sorenson Elementary School for recreation activities and upgrading the ball fields, and a future community center that may include a theater and swimming pool.
   Respondents feel that the most important areas of the Master Plan are the upgrading of existing ball fields, including additional parking, followed by renovating the existing elementary school building for an interim community center.
   Participants were advised that the Old Woodinville School sustained damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake.
   The survey concludes that if the city is to renovate the Old Woodinville School on NE 175th Street it will gain the most support from city residents if the city and private sector share the costs of retrofitting, with grants being sought (49.4 percent).
   Approximately one third of residents (34.7 percent) are not willing to spend any public funds on renovation, and only 14.3 percent were willing to support the city paying for all of the retrofit work.
   Respondents were asked to give their first, second and third choice preference for which capital improvements the city should construct.
   The top first choice preferences include: widen existing roadways, fix congestion points and improve access to freeways (42.6 percent); develop new streets to improve current connections (19.4 percent); fund habitat for salmon recovery and preservation (12.5 percent).
   Second choice preferences include widening roadways (22.5 percent) and developing local parks (20.8 percent). Developing local parks is a top third choice preference (18.3 percent).
   Residents were asked to rank additional funding options if further resources were needed to fund projects they ranked as most important. Approximately 50 percent favor working within the existing budget and shifting funding from other capital projects. Raising permit fees for new development was ranked as second choice.
   Using or creating regional funding sources was ranked as third choice.
   The survey is available by contacting the Executive Department at (425) 489-2700. A minimal copy fee will be charged.