Every two years, the City of Round Rock conducts a survey of its citizens to see how well the city government is meeting their needs and to determine the issues of concern to them. Below are the specific questions from the survey and the results. Analysis by Jeff Montgomery of Montgomery & Associates.
Internet use and interest
Sources of information
Key survey findings
Q. What kind of job would you say the City of Round Rock is doing of keeping you informed of city programs and services?
Excellent: 13.5 percent
Good: 50.5 percent
Fair: 30.2 percent
Poor: 5.6 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 0.3 percent
Q. What about listening to and responding to the needs of citizens?
Excellent: 4.9 percent
Good: 57.7 percent
Fair: 30.4 percent
Poor: 6.8 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 0.3 percent
Q. Do you currently have any of the following television services?
Time Warner Cable: 73 percent
Grande Cable: 2.1 percent
Alternative cable/satellite: 14.4 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 12.3 percent
Q. Are you currently connected to the Internet from home?
Yes: 82.3 percent
No: 17.8 percent
Q. Is your Internet connection high-speed--such as a cable modem or DSL--or is just through a regular phone line?
Cable modem: 40.1 percent
DSL: 25.2 percent
Regular phone line: 33.7percent
Other: 0.3 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 0.6 percent
Q. How interested would you be in being able to pay utility bills or traffic tickets on the City's website?
Very interested: 33.5 percent
Somewhat interested: 25.0 percent
Not interested at all: 40.0 percent
Don't know: 1.5 percent
Q. What if there were a convenience fee of 50 cents to $2 per transaction? Would you be very interested, somewhat interested, or not interested at all in paying City bills and fees online if there were such a charge?
Very interested: 15 percent
Somewhat interested: 30.4 percent
Not interested at all: 51.7 percent
Depends on amount: 2.5 percent
Don't know: 0.4 percent
Q. What about being able to place city work requests online -- or example, reporting potholes or broken street lights -- or sign up for city recreation programs like aerobic classes or swimming lessons online? Would you be very interested, somewhat interested, or not interested at all?
Very interested: 58 percent
Somewhat interested: 22.8 percent
Not interested at all: 18.3 percent
Don't know: 1 percent
Overall, 13.2 percent said excellent and 50.6 percent said good, for a positive rating 63.8 percent . 30.5 percent said only fair and 5.6 percent said poor, for a negative rating of 36.1 percent . That shows a slight increase in the positive rating—just over the margin or error—compared to 2002, when the positive rating was 58.8 percent and the negative was 39.9 percent. And given that 2002’s numbers were a noticeable improvement from 2000, when the city had a positive rating here of 45.3 percent and a negative rating of 51.6 percent . So it is good to see that the positive trend is continuing.
The much higher dissatisfaction rate we found among new residents in 2000, which had disappeared by 2002, has now returned: only 53.8 percent give the city a positive rating on this question, while 46.2 percent give the city a negative rating. In contrast, 72.2 percent of residents who have been here 20 years or more give the city a positive rating here.
Satisfaction with how the city is keeping them informed was higher in the NE quadrant (72 percent) than the SE quadrant (56.7 percent), and higher among Anglos (65.6 percent) than Hispanics (56.8 percent).
Overall, 4.9 percent said excellent and 57.5 percent said good, for a positive rating of 62.4 percent. That’s eight points higher that 2002, which was about ten points higher than in 2000, so these numbers are moving strongly upwards. 30.4 percent said only fair, and 6.8 percent said poor, for a negative rating of 37.2 percent, about the same as in 2002 (which was nine points less than 2000). 0.3 percent had no opinion.
As in 2002, we’re seeing an increase here to the better numbers we saw in 1998, again showing a distinct improvement in the city’s communication with and response to residents.
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Internet Use and Interest
82.3 percent of respondents now have a home Internet connection—about the same as the 80.8 percent we found in 2002. As in 2002, those least likely to have an Internet connection are Hispanics (70.5 percent, compared to 86 percent of Anglos) and those with a high school education or less (64.1 percent, compared to 88.9 percent of college graduates). Older Round Rock residents are catching up, however: 75.8 percent of those over 55 now have an Internet connection. As we saw in 2002, home Internet connection is also clearly dependent on income, with the connection rate rising from 53.8 percent for the lowest income group to 93.9 percent for the highest.
Among the 82.3 percent who have an Internet connection at home, 65.3 percent have a high-speed connection (40.1 percent cable, 25.2 percent DSL). That’s up substantially from the 43.8 percent who had a high-speed connection two years ago. 33.7 percent now use a regular phone line, compared to 54.3 percent in 2002.
This year for the first time we asked respondents “How interested would you be in being able to pay utility bills or traffic tickets on the City’s website? Would you be very interested, somewhat interested, or not interested at all?” 33.5 percent were very interested and 25 percent were somewhat interested, for a total of 58.5 percent showing some interest. 40 percent were not interested at all, and 1.5 percent did not know. The fact that well over half show some interest, and a third show strong interest, makes this a program the city may want to consider.
We next asked those who showed some interest in paying bills online, “What if there were a convenience fee of 50 cents to $2 per transaction? Would you be very interested, somewhat interested, or not interested at all in paying city bills and fees online if there were such a charge?”
Half of those who showed interest in the first question now said they would not be interested at all (51.7 percent). However, 15 percent of those who were originally interested say they are still very interested, and 30.4 percent are still somewhat interested. 2.5 percent say it would depend on the amount, and 0.4 percent don’t know.
That means that overall, about one quarter of Round Rock residents we surveyed still show interest in paying bills online.
Finally, we asked all respondents, “What about being able to place city work requests online—for example, reporting potholes or broken street lights— or sign up for city recreation programs like aerobic classes or swimming lessons online?”
Respondents showed very strong interest in this program. 58 percent were very interested and 22.8 percent were somewhat interested, for a total of 80.8 percent showing some interest. Only 18.3 percent were not interested at all, and 1 percent did not know.
Response to this program was so strong that city should give serious consideration to mounting such a program, it is viable in terms of cost. Only a few groups showed less than very strong interest: these included those 55 and older (54.8 percent); those with incomes below $35,000 (63.1 percent); and residents of Round Rock for over 20 years (61.9 percent). Interest rose with education, from 68.7 percent for those with a high school degree or less to 88.9 percent for college graduates and 85.5 percent for those with graduate work.
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Sources of information
Residents were asked if they get information about the city from the listed sources.
|Local TV news||85.6%||79.7%||79.8%||80% |
|Austin American Statesman ||63.5% ||61.7%||71.5%||78%|
|Utility bill enclosures ||62.3%||62.2%||51%||50%|
|Round Rock Leader ||53.5%||44.5%||52.5%||68%|
|Cablevision Channel 10 ||51.4%||49.6%||44.5% ||45%|
|City Beat ad||50.8%||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Radio ||47.6%||39.1%||46% ||50%|
|Homeowners' newsletters ||41.3%||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Public meetings ||20.5%||22.4%||N/A||N/A|
|City web page ||29.3% ||21.4%||19%||8%|
|City e-mail newsletter||19.8%||7.7%||N/A||N/A|
As in past years, local TV news retains its dominance here as a source for city news. Next in importance, in a rough group of three, are friends, utility bill enclosures, and the Statesman. Friends seem actually to be rising in importance as a source of city news, after dropping precipitously between 1998 and 2000. The Statesman however has not regained the loss of importance it took between 1998 and 2002.
In contrast, the Round Rock Leader seems to be rising in importance again, after a steady drop from 1998 on. Radio is also regaining lost ground. And Internet-related news sources (the city web page and email newsletter), while still well below other new sources, are showing the steepest gains.
The City Beat ad and homeowners’ association newsletters, which we had not asked about in previous surveys, turned out to be a source of city news for a significant number of people.
In 2002, we wrote that the results of this series of questions provided “further evidence that Round Rock is no longer a small town that relies on social networks and the small local weekly paper for information.” Although the gains are small, so it is too early to say for sure, it looks like those two particular sources may be becoming more important once again. And yet at the same time, high-tech sources of information are gaining more importance as well. General quality of life questionsBiggest issues facing the CityTransportation questionsCity services questionsCity's response to problems questions
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