City government tops crime as number one issue

Abbotsford residents say government services biggest issue in city, according to new survey.

Crime is no longer the top issue in Abbotsford residents’ minds.

That’s according to the 2012 Citizen Satisfaction Syndicated Survey performed by Ipsos Reid and presented to Abbotsford council on Monday.

The survey indicates that municipal government services is now the top issue with 18 per cent of people surveyed mentioning it. That 18 per cent breaks down to drinking-water issues (14 per cent), better staff and leadership (two per cent) and garbage and recycling services (two per cent).

Crime fell into a second place tie with taxation/municipal spending at 17 per cent.

Transportation was fourth with 14 per cent of people naming it a top-of-mind issue.

Crime had been the top-of-mind issue in the past two years. In 2010, 38 per cent felt it was a major issue and in 2011 the figure fell to 25 per cent.

Other issues of note included the economy (eight per cent); environment (seven per cent); and parks, recreation and culture; social issues; and growth and development, all with six per cent.

The annual survey, which Abbotsford has participated in for the past three years, also asks questions regarding quality of life, perception of local government, satisfaction with services  and other issues.

A total of 93 per cent of people surveyed said the overall quality of life in Abbotsford was good (64 per cent) or very good (29 per cent). That’s down from 96 per cent in 2011 and 95 per cent in 2010.

A total of seven per cent said life was poor (six per cent) or very poor (one per cent).

When asked if there had been a change in quality of life in the past three years, 58 per cent said it had stayed the same, 21 per cent said it improved and 20 per cent answered it had worsened.

Of those who felt it improved, 30 per cent said it was due to improved policing and a lower crime rate, 12 per cent said growth and development and 11 per cent said more stores/better shopping opportunities.

Crime also topped the list (25 per cent) of reasons why life was worse. It was followed by high taxes (14 per cent) and growth and development (13 per cent).

When asked about municipal operations, 76 per cent were somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with council and the administration as a whole.

When asked separately, only 72 per cent were somewhat or very satisfied with council alone and 75 per cent with the administration alone.

A total of 89 per cent were somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with city services. That’s down from 2011 (92 per cent) and 2010 (95 per cent).

When it came to individual city services, fire services topped the list with 94 per cent saying they were satisfied, followed by parks, trails and green space (90 per cent) and libraries (89 per cent).