Residents give City of MLT good marks in 2013 survey

City of MLT logoResponses to a city survey show residents of Mountlake Terrace have high ratings for the city, with an increasing number of respondents calling the city’s overall quality, appearance, economic development and natural environment “good” or “excellent.”

Results from the 2013 City of Mountlake Terrace Community Survey were released at the March 13 City Council Work/Study Session.

The survey was mailed to 1,200 Mountlake Terrace residences last fall; the survey’s conductor, the National Research Center, received back 264 responses.

“The bottom line, you’ll see in the survey, is overwhelmingly positive,” said Assistant City Manager Scott Hugill. “We’re rated at or above the national norm in several areas, and in areas where we’re below the norm we’re showing improvement from prior years.”

When asked to rate Mountlake Terrace as a place to live, 85 percent of survey respondents answered “good” or “excellent,” up from 78 percent in the 2007 survey. Similar gains in the “good” and “excellent” response were shown to the questions of rating one’s neighborhood as a place to live (up from 69 percent in 2007 to 85 percent in 2013) and the overall quality of life in Mountlake Terrace (up from 71 percent in 2007 to 80 percent in 2013).

When rating the overall appearance of Mountlake Terrace, 60 percent of 2013 respondents said “good” or “excellent,” up from 36 percent in 2007.

Ratings of economic development services also showed big gains, up to 45 percent responding “good” or “excellent” in 2013, compared to only 25 percent in 2007.

When asked to rate the quality of the overall natural environment in Mountlake Terrace, 2013 survey responses showed 85 percent as “good” or “excellent,” compared to 66 percent in 2007.

The biggest declines in “good” and “excellent” responses were in the area of the recreation centers or facilities in the city, and participation in civic engagement opportunities.

When rating the community’s recreation facilities, 65 percent of respondents answered “good” or “excellent,” down from 73 percent in 2007. When asked if they had attended a public meeting in the previous 12 months, only 13 percent of respondents said they had, down from 19 percent in 2007; asked if they had participated in a club or civic group, only 12 percent answered yes, down from 15 percent in 2007.

When survey takers were asked if they had volunteered some time to a group or activity in the city during 2013, 18 percent said they had; in 2007, 23 percent of respondents said they had in 2007. More than three out of four, 77 percent, said they had helped a friend or neighbor in the previous year in the 2013 survey, but that was down from 95 percent in 2007.

While city council members were generally pleased with the responses to the 2013 survey, several expressed a desire to see more residents be reached for the report. “I look at this and, it paints a good picture of the city but, when you think of it, it’s only 264 people that responded,” said Councilmember Doug McCardle. “So you got to keep that in mind.”

Some ideas mentioned at the March 13 meeting for any future survey efforts included moving it from the fall to the winter after the Christmas holiday season, conducting the survey via phone or Internet, or using live individuals stationed outside of grocery stores or other public venues to collect public responses.

You can view the PowerPoint presentation of the 2013 Community Survey results here.

  1. How can one draw ANY conclusions about what Terrace citizens feel if a mere 22% of the 1200 people who received a questionnaire respond? And those respondents represented a mere 1.2% who for one reason or another were willing to voice their opinions?
    That would seem to be statistically worthless. Or is this representative quality of the kind of surveys upon which our City Council bases its decisions?

    1. Snohomish County held a special election in February and there was only 28% voter turnout. Still enough to decide issues in multiple municipalities.

      There are multiple variations on a generally unattributed quote that ‘Government is run by those who show up.’ Seems about right to me.

  2. It was a household survey. From this site:

    I see that there are 2.44 persons per MLT household and there are 8249 households. Since 1200 survey copies were sent, one out of every seven (14.5%) adult MLT residents had an opportunity to provide a response. That is a reasonable method of gathering data, and far more cost-effective than hiring people to go door-to-door asking questions.

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