Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In citizens survey, public safety departments receive high marks; concerns over schools and economic opportunities

By NICK SLOAN, nick@kansascitykansan.com

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Residents feel that Wyandotte County is heading in the right direction, but also feel there's more work to do, particularly when it comes to the economic and educational opportunities.

Nearly 1,300 Wyandotte County residents participated in the Unified Government's Citizen Survey. The survey asked respondents their opinions on a wide-range of issues, including county/city services, economic development, fireworks and concealed carry.

The survey's were administered county-wide and split nearly even among the districts in Wyandotte County.

General points from the survey:
  • More residents are satisfied with the direction Wyandotte County is heading in. In 2000, 30 percent of residents felt Wyandotte County was going in the right direction when it came to quality of life. This year, that number increased to 47 percent. 
  • More believe the community has an improved image. Just 19 percent of residents in 2000 felt that Wyandotte County was viewed in a positive way. In 2014, that number is up to 44 percent. Still, both numbers are well below numbers from surveys administered by other cities in the metro.
  • A majority of residents in Wyandotte County believe their public schools are failing them. Just 49 percent of residents feel the quality of public schools match their needs as a family. 
  • On a similar note, a majority of residents believe there's not enough employment opportunities in Wyandotte County. Just 42 percent believe the county's employment needs are being met. 
  • Public safety received the highest marks from Wyandotte County residents who took the survey. The Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department received the best numbers, as 85 percent of Wyandotte County approved of the job the department is doing. Just two percent of survey participants were dissatisfied with the KCK Fire Department. Two-thirds of survey participants believe the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department is doing a satisfactory job. Over 80 percent are satisfied with ambulance services. 
  • While the KCK Police Department recieved high marks, some residents are still not completely satisfied. Twenty-eight percent of residents believe police services need to receive significant emphasis from local government in the next two years. The number one area residents want to see addressed is the maintenance of city streets, as 43 percent listed that item as the top priority. Interestingly enough, all eight districts in Wyandotte County listed street maintenance as the top priority for the upcoming few years. 
  • When it comes to COUNTY services, Wyandotte County residents believe the Motor Vehicle Registration, Parks and Aging Services need to be addressed the most by local government. 
  • 73 percent of survey respondents approved of the Unified Government's decisions to use economic incentives to attract businesses to Wyandotte County. 
  • In the area of future economic development, Indian Springs, Minnesota Avenue and the State Avenue Corridor are the top three areas where Wyandotte County residents want to see more economic development. 
  • 56 percent of Wyandotte County residents believe fireworks should remain legal. 
  • 53 percent of Wyandotte County residents support the county's decision to prevent concealed carry of handguns in public buildings.
  • 60 percent of respondents expressed support on building a new prison or expanding the current jail.