Crime, taxes top list of issues that concern Abbotsford citizens

For the second year in a row, crime is the top issue for Abbotsford residents.

According to the 2011 Citizen Satisfaction Syndicated Study, performed for the city by Ipsos Reid, 21 per cent of respondents said crime was the top of mind issue. That’s down nine per cent from the 2010 results.

Taxation was the second most important issue at 14 per cent, followed by municipal services at eight per cent.

“Crime and taxation are the top issues. I didn’t need a survey to tell me that,” said Abbotsford Mayor George Peary.

For the second year in a row, crime is the top issue for Abbotsford residents.

According to the 2011 Citizen Satisfaction Syndicated Study, performed for the city by Ipsos Reid, 21 per cent of respondents said crime was the top of mind issue. That’s down nine per cent from the 2010 results.

Taxation was the second most important issue at 14 per cent, followed by municipal services at eight per cent.

“Crime and taxation are the top issues. I didn’t need a survey to tell me that,” said Abbotsford Mayor George Peary.

He said there is some irony in the top two results as they are intertwined and create a familiar dilemma.

“To fight crime we need more police and for more police we need taxes … this is the knife’s edge that local politicians walk on all the time,” he said.

The survey took place between May 24 and June 3, 2011 and included 300 citizens over the age of 18. It cost the city just under $10,000.

The purpose of the survey is to help council identify trends in how the public responds to city initiatives.

“If there are common issues, this helps us address them … it shows where we might need to allocate funds,” said Peary.

Those polled were asked a variety of questions, including opinions on quality of life, taxation and services.

Quality of life was rated as good (65 per cent) or very good (30 per cent) as compared to 2010 when 68 per cent said good and 28 per cent said very good.

Thirty per cent of respondents said quality of life had improved, 53 per cent claimed it stayed the same and 16 per cent feel things have worsened. In 2010, 27 per cent of residents said life had worsened while 25 per cent said it improved.

When asked why they felt life had improved, 18 per cent said good roads and infrastructure, and 15 per cent pointed to a lower crime rate and a higher feeling of safety.

At the other end of the spectrum, of those who thought life had worsened, 25 per cent said crime was the reason, while nine per cent said they had safety concerns.

In total, 92 per cent said they were very (26 per cent) of somewhat (66 per cent) satisfied with city services.

“Overall, the citizens are pretty satisfied,” said Peary.

When asked about the value for taxes, 57 per cent said they were fairly good while 15 per cent said very good, for a total “good” response of 72 per cent.

That’s down six per cent from 2010.

Twenty per cent said it was fairly poor and six per cent responded very poor for a total “poor” response of 26 per cent.

The top three infrastructure priorities identified by the public were roads, followed by water treatment facilities and local public transit.

That’s almost identical to 2010 when it was roads, public transit and water treatment facilities.

When asked about the level of information provided by the city, 54 per cent said they receive just the right amount, 41 per cent said too little and four per cent said too much.

In 2010, 52 per cent said just the right amount and 43 per cent felt is was too little.

Financial and budget news (21 per cent) topped the list of information needs, followed by building projects and developments (17 per cent) and parks, recreation or cultural news (nine per cent).

Of those surveyed, 42 per cent said the best way to make information available was through the newspaper.

Mailings was second at 23 per cent followed by the Internet at 18 per cent.

According to the Ipsos Reid report, the survey is accurate to with plus or minus 5.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.