KC improves in citizen satisfaction survey

Kansas City residents feel better about their city with Mayor Sly James in office than they did in the previous administration, according to the latest satisfaction scores.

Fifty percent of residents were satisfied with the overall quality of city services after James’ first year, compared with 43 to 47 percent satisfied during Mark Funkhouser’s administration and 41 percent in 2005, when Kay Barnes was mayor.

The latest citizen satisfaction report, released Thursday, summarized responses by 4,725 Kansas City households, surveyed by phone or mail from July 2011 to May 2012.

The biggest change occurred in perception of city leadership. Thirty-nine percent of residents were satisfied with the overall quality of elected officials in the past year, vs. 20 percent satisfied in fiscal year 2011 and 16 percent in fiscal year 2010.

“Those of us who were here last term see the difference,” Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo said after the survey results were presented.

“It is noteworthy,” James said. “We have a very good council.”

Other areas that showed significant satisfaction gains were effectiveness of the city manager and staff, quality of local ambulance service, city park and community center maintenance, and bulky item services.

Areas that showed declines in citizen satisfaction were the overall quality of water utilities, overall quality of public transportation, and quality of animal control.

Kansas City continues to lag its big city peers in citizen perceptions, especially on maintenance issues.

Only 23 percent of Kansas City residents were satisfied with street and building maintenance, compared with an average of 37 percent for other big cities such as Denver, Des Moines and Fort Worth. However, on that one category, Kansas City outpaced St. Louis, where 20 percent were satisfied.

The full report is at www.kcmo.org/performance.