116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Marion is asking residents to participate in its National Community Survey this month.
The survey, designed to evaluate how city government serves its residents, gauge perceptions of the city and make comparisons with peer local government agencies, centers on community livability and includes questions about quality of life, local policies, demographics and services, City Communications Director Amber Bisinger said.
“The survey helps us understand resident expectations and whether we are meeting them. It’s like a report card, a way we can measure resident satisfaction,” Bisinger said. “Since the NCS is distributed across the country, it also gives us a chance to see how we measure up to other cities. We’re especially interested in those of similar size, median household income and proximity to a metro.”
A random, scientific sample of 2,700 households in Marion has been selected to participate in the survey and confidential responses will be weighted and analyzed to reflect the broader community of over 40,000.
In February, an online version of the survey will open on the city’s website to all residents for a two-week period.
Survey participants are asked to answer questions using a rating system from poor to excellent.
“The data gathered will inform our strategic plan, budget priorities and the individual department work plans,” Mayor Nick AbouAssaly said.
Marion started offering the National Community Survey back in 2017, but the city’s records show that the first citizen survey was discussed back in 1993, Bisinger said. Back then, 600 surveys were mailed and residents were randomly selected from voter registration records. Marion continued with that process roughly every other year until 2014.
In 2019, the last time the NCS was issued to Marion residents, 93 percent of participants rated the city as an “excellent” or “good” place to live.
Eighty-four percent of residents in 2019 also voiced they would support property tax or fee increases to fund facility or service improvements. Other initiatives receiving high marks were related to parks, outdoor trails, library services and an aquatic center.
Bisinger said many of the city’s current projects reflect the previous survey results.
“In addition, the results from this year will be used to measure whether we are hitting the mark on several of the initiatives outlined in our strategic plan,” Bisinger said.
Assistant to the City Manager Amal Eltahir said the survey also informs the city’s economic development efforts.
“For example, when we heard about the desire for additional shopping opportunities, we partnered with Main Street Iowa on their Ready to Recruit project to recruit for and market Uptown Marion,” Eltahir said.
After the online survey closes, results will be presented to the city council.
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