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Citizen survey: Public safety scores high, other categories show resident disatisfaction

By Staff | Jun 2, 2011

By DREW WINCHESTER
dwinchester@breezenewspapers.com
Results of a citizens survey conducted by a national firm found that Cape Coral residents view the quality of life in the city as being far below the national benchmarks, with street repair, employment opportunities, economic development and sense of community as some of the issues identified as sub par.
Yet residents generally felt safe in the city, giving good marks to the police and fire departments, comparable to national benchmarks identified in the report.
Mayor John Sullivan said he wasn’t surprised by the results and that the city has improved in some areas compared to previous surveys.
“I think it looks better than it did last time,” the mayor added.
Sullivan said that much of the discontent is left over from decisions made by previous administrations, including $900 million in debt, and other controversial issues.
“What we’ve tried to do is hold things down as far as costs to residents,” he said. “It’s hard to back out of things that have been done, especially from a debt perspective … we’re doing the best we can.”
Councilman Marty McClain said he was pleased that city police and fire workers were looked upon favorably by those surveyed. Of the 1,200 surveys that went out, roughly one third of those were filled out and returned, according to McClain.
“With some of the perceptions put out there, I was very encouraged by the responses to city employees, and fire and police,” he said.
Residents identified ease of traveling on bicycle and walking trails as being below the national benchmark, as well as the availability of those trails or paths.
Councilman Kevin McGrail disagreed with that notion, saying that the city has installed “miles” of trails and paths over the years. He also said the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee voted to synchronize the signals along Del Prado Boulevard to promote better traffic flow. Citizens identified traveling by car in the city to be below the national benchmarks.
“Those are two things where I know we made positive change,” he said.
The city ranked above the national benchmark in recycling, trash pick up and air quality.
The city also ranked above the national standard as a place to retire.