Mayor Craig Morgan writes a monthly column for the Round Rock Leader.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and we take great pride in Round Rock whenever we receive an accolade for a job well done. We often find our way onto lists for the “best place to move to,” and our city employees are regularly recognized by their colleagues across the state and nation for their excellence. But it’s important for us to tune into our own residents’ perception of whether we are meeting their expectations for service.
Every two years, the city conducts a survey of its residents to see how well the city government is meeting their needs and to determine the issues of concern to them. ETC Institute conducts the survey by mail and online to a random sample of 550 residents.
Our most recent survey, completed at the end of 2020 and presented to the City Council last month, found that nearly 90% of respondents were satisfied with the overall quality of life in Round Rock. When asking specifically about city services, the survey showed 87% of residents were satisfied versus 1% who were dissatisfied. These results are more meaningful to me than any article or award, and I’m so proud of the work our city employees do.
From drinking water to parks maintenance and trash collection services, Round Rock rated at or above the average for cities across the United States in 48 of the 50 areas that were assessed in the survey. Round Rock rated “significantly higher” than the U.S. average (5% or more above) in 41 of these areas.
The survey also indicates areas where we know there is still work to be done: When asked what are the three biggest issues facing Round Rock over the next five years, the top responses were traffic, cited by 88% of respondents; controlling rapid growth, cited by 61%; and property taxes, cited by 53%.
Based on the survey responses, our formula for success is working: we set our city’s overall strategic plan, and our employees address the problems our residents say are most important to them. Each year, the City Council hosts a two-day retreat that allows us time to update and reprioritize this strategic plan, the foundation for all long-term city initiatives. Our strategic goals in recent years have focused on providing high-value services, ensuring we have necessary infrastructure in place, maintaining a great community environment for our residents, promoting tourism, providing an exciting community destination in downtown and sustaining our neighborhoods.
In providing high-value services, police and fire are incredibly important to deliver results as public safety makes up 50% of the city’s general fund. We have a reputation of being one of the safest cities in the nation, and 91% of our residents reported feeling safe or very safe in Round Rock during the day.
We’ve made huge strides in our strategic goal of providing necessary infrastructure to manage our growth, and street maintenance has been an ongoing priority. We saw significant improvement in resident satisfaction with the condition of our streets, with 72% satisfaction with maintenance of major streets. This number is 26% higher than both the Texas and national average. Our Driving Progress transportation project campaign to increase road network capacity and connectivity is also paying dividends; satisfaction with traffic flow in and around neighborhoods increased 18% since our last survey.
Our strategic goal focusing on sports tourism continues to be a benefit for residents. Satisfaction with the quality of outdoor sports facilities in Round Rock is 72%, and satisfaction with the Forest Creek Golf Course increased by an impressive 15% from 2018 to 2020, following the city’s recent $5.1 million renovation of the course.
Our strategic goal aims to make Round Rock a great community to live. In our survey, 88% of residents agree that Round Rock is a great place to call home. We’re proud of our residents and businesses for taking care of our community as well: 81% of residents are satisfied with the appearance of our community, which is 22% above the Texas average and 17% above the national average. Our recent investments in our hike and bike trail network also helped to boost our satisfaction score in this area by 8% over our last survey.
Downtown continues to be an important strategic initiative as we continue to grow. Our redevelopment of this core area was listed as the top response for favorite development in the city over the past five years. Last but certainly not least, significant resources are allocated to taking care of our neighborhoods. We received 88% satisfaction with the appearance and maintenance of city parks, 72% satisfaction with maintenance of city streets and 95% of residents feel safe in their neighborhood during the day — with 83% at night. These numbers are much higher than the statewide and national average in these areas.
Perhaps one of the most important metrics we ask about in each survey is customer service. At the end of the day, it’s important to us that our residents know how much we care about serving them. Seventy-six percent of residents who had contacted the city during the past year described the service they received as “excellent” or “good,” which was 29% above the national average and 31% above the Texas average.
We will continue to challenge ourselves to increase our level of service to the community and plan our resources in a strategic way that makes a difference in residents’ lives. We appreciate everyone who took the survey and others who give us feedback that help us make our community the great place it is.
To view the complete survey results, visit roundrocktexas.gov/survey.