In 2013, when a random sampling of Clovis citizens were first surveyed and 94 percent said they would recommend Clovis to friends and family, council members and city staff doubted the city could rank much higher, but then that number climbed to 96 percent in 2015, and once again, another group of citizens surveyed last September shattered the city staff’s expectations, with a whopping 98 percent saying they would recommend Clovis.
While that astounding statistic alone is enough reason for Clovis staffers and citizens to celebrate, Andy Haussler, the city’s director of community and economic development, reported at a recent city council meeting that Clovis ranks high in many other categories – from police and fire services to city competence to education and much more – when compared to similarly sized cities throughout the nation.
The recent fall survey was sent out of 1,500 Clovis households—an increase of 100 homes due to the city’s population growth since 2015—and 258 households, or 17.2 percent, responded, which is on par with the response rates of the two previous surveys.
These citizens were asked to rate the city’s specific services as well as community amenities and issues like their level of trust in local government. Overall, three overarching categories were examined: community characteristics, government and participation.
“Community characteristics really are the community’s amenities and cultural opportunities, the governance is where the rubber meets the road for the city and where the services are provided, and participation is really how good of neighbors are we and how engaged in the community are we,” Haussler explained.
In the community characteristics category, 87 percent of citizens rated their neighborhood as excellent, up from 80 and 83 percent in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Of those that participated in the survey, 95 percent rated Clovis itself as an excellent place to live, compared to 90 and 92 percent the previous survey years; 86 percent said they were likely to remain in Clovis for at least the next five years, and, of course, the highest stat was that 98 percent surveyed said they were likely to recommend Clovis to friends and family.
“I didn’t think we could beat the 96 percent we got last time, to be honest,” Haussler said.
The 98 percent statistic also makes Clovis No. 4 in the nation for citizen recommendation.
Altogether, Clovis ranks among the Top 25 cities nationally, out of over 400 cities, and within the Top 7 in every nearly community characteristic subcategory among 32 benchmark, or similar, cities, with the exceptions of cultural opportunities (No. 9), diversity (No. 12) and air quality (No. 17).
“We did place first in the following: ease of getting to places, the overall build environment, quality of new development, availability of affordable food, education and preschool,” Haussler said. “Nationally, we ranked as high as No. 8 for K-12 education and No. 18 for availability of paths, No. 22 overall build environment and No. 24 for quality of new development.”
In the governance category, Clovis also ranks very high, at No. 29 nationally for services provided, No. 13 in the nation for overall competence, No. 27 for honesty and No. 21 for acting in the best interest of the community. Compared to benchmark cities, Clovis was ranked No. 1 in the four above governance categories.”
“For me, I’m very proud of the fact our community trusts in the government that is leading it,” Haussler said.
When it comes to specific services, Clovis ranked within the Top 5 compared to benchmark cities in all services areas with the exception of drinking water and recreational facilities (No. 6). Specifically, Clovis ranked No. 1 for services provided by the city, overall competence in the city government, police, planning, economic development and public information, and No. 2 for fire services. Nationally, Clovis ranked as high as No. 6 for street cleaning services, No. 9 for lighting, No. 13 for overall competence in city government, No. 15 for police services, No. 17 for the overall direction of the city and No. 29 for overall services provided.
Under participation categories, Clovis is ranked No. 1 nationally for conserving water, No. 1 for shopping amenities and No. 5 for community energy improvements.
“It is almost an embarrassment of riches sometimes because I think of how there are very few communities as fortunate as we are,” Mayor Bob Whalen said. “There is something very special about our community and the amazing thing is no one can really put their finger on why; it just works.”