Survey Says...Bryan City Services Score Well

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How is Bryan doing when it comes to the services they provide their citizens? That was the subject of a survey commissioned by the city council.

The ETC Institute has been working since 1982, and has conducted a million similar surveys just since 1998. Bryan's results were presented to the council Tuesday.

"It really gives them some numerical information to move forward from a place that's now defined with some good statistics," said Karen Falk with ETC.

The DirectionFinder study was commissioned by Bryan's city council earlier this year and was conducted starting in June.

"We ask the community different questions in an unbiased way," Falk said. "That kind of information really gives your city council direction for quite a while."

Of the 15,000 surveys sent out randomly, 407 were returned, enough for a 95 percent level of confidence from the surveyors.

Notable successes in the city include public safety services, fire and police. They received 82 percent satisfaction from residents, while only getting five percent dissatisfaction.

The parks and recreation department also ranked high, with 79 percent satisfaction compared to seven percent dissatisfaction.

The city's customer service provided by its employees was also a high scorer, with 74 percent satisfaction and only five percent dissatisfaction.

Asked if it's what she expected the high scorers to be, Councilmember Ann Horton said, "Yeah, I would think so. As one of the other councilmembers said, there were not a lot of surprises, but it is good to have what we suspected confirmed."

On the "to be improved" end of the survey were a couple of street issues: traffic flow management and street maintenance, each receiving less than 50 percent satisfaction with significant dissatisfaction.

Traffic flow management scored 46 percent satisfaction and 22 percent dissatisfaction. Street maintenance got just 30 percent satisfaction, with 40 percent dissatisfaction.

Again, the weaknesses weren't surprises, and councilmembers noted those were areas the city has been actively working to improve over the past few years.

"If you ask the people in the two what kind of action to take on a certain issue, they'll tell you, and it's right on," Councilmember Mike Southerland said. "You don't have to get an expert to answer those questions for you.

Southerland added that the project was money well spent.

"I think it was if we implement it, put it in the budget and implement it," he said.

The survey cost about $11,000.

Though the public safety services got high marks, one point of improvement noted in the survey was a need for more police visibility in the community.

In other council business Tuesday, more downtown construction has been signed off on. The council approved a $336,000 construction contract with Brazos Valley Services as part of the Tabor Avenue rehabilitation project. Phase One will reconstruct Tabor, along with a new sewer system, and will affect portions of Tabor Avenue and 31st Street.

Another deal inked by the council was one for tax abatement with Toyo Ink, the company planning to build in the Bryan Business Park. The deal runs for nine years, ending in 2015. The corporation manufactures polymers, inks and adhesives, and is expected to break ground in September.