Governance Standing Policy Committee has received the results of the 2022 Community Survey showing 90 per cent of respondents rank their quality of life in Lethbridge as good or very good. The survey, completed earlier this spring, collected residents' feedback on topics like: top-of-mind issues, satisfaction, importance and usage of City Services, communication, customer service, financial planning/taxation and overall quality of life.
"This survey is a very important tool for City Council," says Councillor Belinda Crowson, Chair of the Governance Standing Policy Committee. "As we head into the Operating Budget deliberations this fall, we need to understand how our community feels about the programs and services we provide so we can make good funding decisions. It also helps us evaluate our strengths and areas for improvement."
The 2022 quality of life rankings dropped slightly from the 94 per cent recorded in 2020 with factors like COVID-19 (up 9 points) and the economy (up 18 points) contributing to why residents felt like their quality of life declined. Of those indicating that their quality of life has worsened, crime remained the number one reason at 24 per cent, consistent with results from 2020.
The City scored very high in customer service with a 92 per cent satisfaction rate and an impressive 93 per cent of residents who have contacted 311 are satisfied with the service.
The overall satisfaction with City programs and services sits at 82 per cent, a 4-point drop from 86 per cent in 2020. The ongoing drug crisis, the pandemic, budget reductions and maintaining a zero per cent tax increase over the last several years, have all had an impacted on maintaining City service levels.
Fire protection, ambulance service and police services all saw a reduction in satisfaction in 2022 but remain high on the community's list of important programs and services. These emergency services have been the most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In contrast, the satisfaction of recycling services continues to climb, up 23 per cent since the introduction of curbside recycling.
Some of the top-of-mind issues for residents in 2022 include social issues, transportation, drugs and crime.
"The survey results definitely show some areas we need to continue to pay attention to," says Crowson. "I think we could probably have expected a drop in satisfaction given everything we've been through the last few years and that will likely be a trend across many municipalities. The question is - how do we rebound from that? How do we look at what is most important to Lethbridge residents and find the best way to balance spending with meeting those expectations? That is never an easy task but that will be the question Council has to answer."
When asked about making the choice of increasing taxes or cutting services to compensate for the increasing costs or operating the City, the community remains split with 43 per cent preferring increased taxes to 44 per cent in favour of cutting services.
The 2022 Community Survey was conducted using a statistically valid phone survey balancing an even mix of gender, age, income level, education, areas of the city, household size and years living in Lethbridge. The survey reached residents by both land line and cell phone and randomly called participants helping to get an even representation from the sometimes silent majority.
For a full report on the survey along with the results from past community surveys visit http://www.lethbridge.ca/surveys .