The results of the second National Citizen Survey™ conducted in Albert Lea are in.
The NCS captures residents’ opinions within the three pillars of a community (Community Characteristics, Governance and Participation) across eight central facets of community (Safety, Mobility, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation and Wellness, Education and Enrichment and Community Engagement). This report discusses trends over time, comparing the 2015 ratings for the City of Albert Lea to its previous survey results in 2012. Additional reports and technical appendices are available under separate cover.
Trend data for Albert Lea represent important comparison data and should be examined for improvements or declines. Deviations from stable trends over time, especially, represent opportunities for understanding how local policies, programs or public information may have affected residents’ opinions.
Meaningful differences between survey years have been noted within their representative tables as being “higher” or “lower” if the differences are greater than six percentage points between the 2012 and 2015 surveys, otherwise the comparison between 2012 and 2015 are noted as being “similar.” Additionally, benchmark comparisons for all survey years are presented for reference. Changes in the benchmark comparison over time can be impacted by various trends, including varying survey cycles for the individual communities that comprise the benchmarks, regional and national economic or other events, as well as emerging survey methodologies.
Overall, ratings in Albert Lea for 2015 generally remained stable. Of the 81 items for which comparisons were available, 61 items were rated similarly in 2012 and 2015, 14 items showed a decrease in ratings and 6 showed an increase in ratings. Notable trends over time included the following:
- Positive ratings for paths and walking trails, as well as ease of walking trails, continued to be strong and exceeded national benchmarks.
- Positive ratings for recreational opportunities in Albert Lea saw an increase from 2012 to 2015. Within the facet of Recreation and Wellness, ratings for preventive health services decreased since 2012 as well as rates for visited a City park.
- Ratings for fire prevention, emergency preparedness and feeling safe in their neighborhood decreased from 2012 to 2015.
- Positive ratings for opportunities to volunteer, openness and acceptance, social events and activities, sense of community and rates of volunteering all saw a decrease from 2012 to 2015.
- Rates of participation for using Albert Lea public libraries decreased from 2012 to 2015 but positive ratings for cultural/arts/music activities and child care/preschool increased since 2012.
The City Council, along with City staff, will be reviewing the survey during the summer and use the results for goal planning in the future. Input from the community will also be gathered at Neighborhood parties that are being planned for August 11, 12 and 13. These parties will be held at Fountain Lake Park, Eastgate Park, and Memorial Park, respectively. These informal gatherings are intended as a way for staff and the community to share ideas and learn about city services.
Copies are also available for viewing at the Albert Lea Public Library. City Manager Chad Adams is available to present the findings to interested community groups. Please call 507-377-4330 to make arrangements.
The National Citizen Survey™ is sponsored by the International City/County Management Association in cooperation with National Research Center, Inc. The questionnaire and survey procedure were designed based on the experience of hundreds of local governments, ranging in size from small to large. Scientific sampling and weighting of the responses in each city ensure accurate and reliable results. Because each city’s survey is developed using a standard template, and many cities can be surveyed at one time, The National Citizen Survey™ is a very efficient way to measure citizen opinion.