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Reno Gets High Marks For Public Safety, But Road Maintenance and Finances Need Improvement


Image: Bob Conrad.

By Carla O’Day

The results of a community survey to assess resident satisfaction with local services was presented Wednesday to the Reno City Council.

The 26-question survey was mailed in February to a random sample of households with a goal of 400 completed surveys, although 603 surveys were completed.

Responses were compared to survey results collected two years prior. Data compiled in the survey allows city staff to consider input about priorities identified by the community in regards to city services.

The survey, which was administered by the Olathe, Kan.-based ETC Institute, cost $10,000 and was budgeted through the city manager’s office. Results in most categories showed slight improvements over 2015 with the exception of street maintenance.

Assistant City Manager Kate Thomas.
Image Credit: City of Reno

Assistant City Manager Kate Thomas said her staff was pleased, especially since the city has focused hard on many of the issues where improvements were seen.

“There wasn’t a lot of disdain,” she said. “We’re doing a better job at communicating with our constituency.”

Key results were as follows:

  • Of residents surveyed who had an opinion, 71 percent were satisfied with the quality of fire services, 66 percent were satisfied with the quality of police services, and 58 percent were satisfied with the quality of parks and recreation facilities and programs.
  • Residents were least satisfied with enforcement of city codes and ordinances (30 percent satisfied, 25 percent dissatisfied, 45 percent neutral) and management of city government finances (26 percent satisfied, 39 percent dissatisfied, 35 percent neutral).
  • Services that residents indicated were most important for the city to emphasize during the next two years are: (1) street, building, and facility maintenance; (2) traffic flow and congestion management on major streets; and (3) management of finances.
  • Of residents who had an opinion, 98 percent felt safe in Reno neighborhoods during the day, while 82 percent felt safe in neighborhoods at night. Residents felt least safe when biking on city streets.
  • Nearly two-thirds of residents who had an opinion were satisfied with city preparedness and response to weather events, 56 percent were satisfied with the ease of car travel in Reno, and 47 percent were satisfied with the cleanliness of streets and other public areas. Residents were least satisfied with the ease of bike travel in Reno.

Councilwoman Neoma Jardon suggested the survey be shared with the Regional Transportation Commission. She also was confused about why so many people were concerned about financial management.

“Was there any data behind that?” Jardon asked Thomas. “A deeper dive into that would be why they think money is being mismanaged.”

Thomas said it could be related to publicity in recent years about driving down debt.

Councilwoman Naomi Duerr said she’d like for more questions to be addressed on the matter in the future to determine if it’s public perception or something specific.

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.




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