The quality of city services is what shapes a community. For many residents, that can be a determining factor in whether they stay in a city or move to another one.
Improvement of city services is not the sole responsibility of city officials. Residents have to speak up about what works, what doesn’t and make suggestions so change can occur. After all, the services are for them.
An opportunity for residents to help the city gauge city services and their efficiency is underway. The city is participating in an online survey offered by the League of Minnesota Cities to see how satisfied residents are with city services in St. Joseph. A link to the survey can be found on the city’s website, www.cityofstjoseph.com. The deadline to complete the survey is Monday, Dec. 10.
The survey consists of 12 questions and covers areas that range from the condition of city streets and the appearance of the city to feeling safe in the community and the quality of trash and refuse service. This is the second time the city has participated in the survey.
In 2010, the Minnesota Legislature created the “Council on Local Results and Innovation” and charged it with developing 10 performance measures for cities. Part of the legislation was for the state auditor to administer the “Performance Measurement Program” by which cities meeting the eligibility requirements would receive funding of 14 cents per capita, up to $25,000, and be exempt from levy limits if they are in effect. In order to receive the 2013 incentive payment, cities have to file a signed resolution to adopt the 10 measures with the auditor. Participating cities also need to administer the online survey that asks 12 questions.
While the funding component of the survey requirement is important, it’s not what the survey is all about. Yes, in these economic times, cities need all the help they can get. However, this survey not only helps cities but allows residents to express concerns or praise for services provided to them.
Some might hear the word “survey” and think, “Oh, my responses won’t matter.” Others might think, “Officials aren’t going to make changes.” Those are the wrong attitudes to have. Change can’t happen if nobody speaks up. There is also the argument that time and busy schedules won’t allow for participation in the survey. Again, change can’t happen if officials are not informed by those whom they are supposed to serve.
Residents are who comprise a neighborhood or community. Officials are in office to serve the residents. Let them know how you feel about the delivery of city services – good or bad. Your voice does matter.