A found an increased percentage of residents like the quality of life in El Cerrito, seeing it as a good place to raise kids, receive local services and retire.
A total of 89 percent of respondents said El Cerrito is an excellent or good place to live, compared with 83 percent in 2007, 85 percent in 2005 and 88 percent in 2003 – the three previous years that the same National Citizen Survey was conducted.
The results come from a five-page questionnaire mailed to 1,200 households in April. The city received 362 surveys back, for a response rate of 31 percent, which a city staff report says in is the typical response range of 25-40 percent. The staff report includes the results and can be found in the packet for next Tuesday's City Council meeting. It is also attached to this article.
Some caution is advised in interpreting the results. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent, according to the staff report. And comparisons with previous years' results may merit extra caution. "Differences between prior years' results can be considered 'statistically significant' if they are greater than seven percentage points," the staff report says.
Those who found the city's "sense of community" to be good or excellent totalled 66 percent, signficantly more than the 50 percent in 2007 and the 52 percent in both 2005 and 2003.
Those who gave excellent or good marks to El Cerrito's "openness and acceptance of the community toward people of diverse backgrounds" totaled 87 percent, as opposed to 76 percent in 2007, a well above the national benchmark.
As for overall services provided by the City of El Cerrito, 78 percent found them good or excellent, compared to 63 percent in 2007, 68 percent in 2005 and 69 percent in 2003. Of those who had contact with the police department, 76 percent rated their experience as excellent or good.
Ease of transportation show particularly marked improvement in nearly all areas, including by car, mass transportation, bicycle and walking.
Not everything was rosy. Those who rated educational and cultural opportunities as good or excellent, 43 and 42 percent respectively, were below comparable jurisdictions. And the amount of contact with neighbors likewise was below the norm.
On the other hand, those who recycle from home, 96 percent this year, has been near 100 percent in all four survey years, well above the national average.
And those who were pleased with street repair nearly doubled, to 57 percent compared to 30 percent in 2007, before the city repaved its streets and was .
In a special question about the city's need to increase street sweeping, more than half said they would support enactment of parking restrictions. The survey explained that the city has to comply with stricter standards for the quality of water run-off from streets.
More details and questions can be found in the attached staff report. The report says the results are preliminary with the final report to be made available later this month with "full responses and benchmark comparisons with over 500 other jurisdictions, as well as El Cerrito results from previous years (2004, 2005 & 2007). The preiiminary report includes results from previous years on some questions but not as much detail as the final report will have.