O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon to complete community survey

Starting next week, O’Fallon will randomnly survey 1,500 residents as part of a community-wide survey.
Starting next week, O’Fallon will randomnly survey 1,500 residents as part of a community-wide survey. Courtesy of the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce

The city of O’Fallon wants to know how it best serves its residents and where it can improve.

Starting on Monday, the city will begin randomly gathering feedback from 1,500 residents about city services, civic participation, characteristics of O’Fallon, and various community topics through a community-wide survey.

The city has entered into a $13,860 contract with the National Citizen Survey (NCS) through the National Research Center, Inc., who will administer the the five-page survey which is being randomly mailed to the residents.

Made available to residents in nearly 550 other localities throughout the U.S., the NCS is widely considered by most counties and municipalities as the standard-bearer for collecting meaningful qualitative data and providing informative, actionable feedback.

Among numerous other things, O’Fallon’s latest survey will ask residents to judge city services, ranging from such topics like trash pickup, street cleaning and snow plowing.

“While input from residents is always welcome, we now want to provide a mechanism which could be quantified and measured,” O’Fallon City Administrator Walter Denton said.

Denton said the city will use the community survey’s results to determine which local services residents feel are satisfactory and those in need of improvement.

O’Fallon has completed similar community surveys four or five times since 2005, according to Denton.

The last time O’Fallon undertook such a survey was about four years ago, he said.

“When we started doing the survey, the idea was to do the survey every other year to keep a tab on what the people’s opinions were so the city could make adjustments,” Denton said.

But in recent years, the local responses were pretty similar, he said.

Since the last community survey was completed, O’Fallon’s population has grown by more than 4,000 residents.

Under the latest survey, O’Fallon community survey will be measuring public opinion in five key areas of community livability, according to Denton.

“Residents will be asked to report their perceptions about the quality of their community and related services, as well as their own engagement within the community,” he said.

O’Fallon will also be asking three customized questions about the city’s current and future services.

The NCS will compile the survey results and provide the city with an in-depth report that summarized their residents’ responses in three areas: community characteristics, governance and participation.

In aggregate, these are compiled to give a general overview of the community’s livability and quality of life. Embedded within this, the questions collect residents’ thoughts about eight key aspects that are central to any community: safety, mobility, the natural environment, the built environment, recreation and wellness, education and enrichment, and community engagement.

While the comparison to other communities is certainly useful, what’s most telling is how the O’Fallon of today compares to the O’Fallon of its not-so-distant past.

O’Fallon is asking only adults, 18 years or older, to complete the survey.

All survey responses will remain completely anonymous, Denton said.

To make it more convenient for residents, the survey may be returned by mail in the provided postage-paid envelope, or completed online at the website provided with the mailing.

Denton said the 16-question survey should take about 20 minutes to complete.

“Public input is crucial as our elected officials plan for our present and future,” he said.

Mark Hodapp: 618-239-2688