By Valerie Shelton | Editor
The residents of Clovis have spoken once again and Clovis can still proudly proclaim that it is one of the best cities of its size and demographic in the nation.
In the late summer of 2013, randomly selected residents throughout the city were asked via a mailed survey to rank the city’s services and the general way of life in the city. At that time, 94 percent of those who responded said they would recommend Clovis to their friends and family.
This past August, city staff sent out the surveys, officially called the National Citizens Survey, to a second group of randomly selected citizens to see whether or not Clovis has improved. Survey results indicate that Clovis indeed has improved in most areas across the board and now 96 percent of residents who responded the survey say they would recommend Clovis.
“Last time when we received a 94 percent that people would recommend Clovis, I thought we could never beat that,” Clovis City Manager Robert Woolley said. “That was a phenomenal number that 94 percent of our residents would recommend Clovis to their friends and family. Now, we’re at 96 percent. I think that is something we can all be proud of.”
At a city council meeting held Dec. 14, Deputy City Manager Andy Haussler went over the results of the survey in detail.
Most of the residents surveyed, he said, rated most services the City provides as good or excellent. Overall, Clovis performed above average nationally for services provided, ranking 44th out of 383 similar cities nationwide. Among benchmark cities—those most like Clovis in terms of population, demographics and income—Clovis ranked within the top four cities in most categories. Compared to 2013 results, the city moved up over 30 spots nationally. Public safety services were also highly rated and the City scored high in the level of public trust the residents afforded to the City.
The City also performed very well in the level of trust its residents have in its governance. Residents gave Clovis #1 ranking for faith in its government in honesty, confidence, welcoming citizen involvement and acting in the best interest of the community when compared to similar cities and in the top 20 nationally.
“Overall, residents have a high level of trust in the local government compared to other cities,” Haussler said. “Clovis is 44th nationally for services and we were in the 70s in 2013. Clovis is 7th nationwide in overall competence, 17th for being honest and 14th for acting in the best interest of the community. Among benchmark cities, we were number one for community confidence and working in the best interest of the community.”
The category Clovis had the worst rate in was air quality, for which Clovis ranked 206th. This regional issue was very evident during the survey time period as the Rough Fire was underway sending ash into the City. The Rough Fire as well as water fines the city was imposing on residents at the time of the survey likely impacted this rating.
“Just give you some perspective, when the survey went out it was not the best time for us,” Haussler said. “We had just been getting some press for distributing water fines and we also had something else impacting us, the Rough Fire, so during this time we had soot raining down on Clovis and we were fining people for water use. It has passed, but during this time was when the survey was being mailed out and people were responding. That gives you some perspective.”
The City also performed below average on access to library services and recreational facilities, both of which staff is actively pursuing, as both a new library and senior center are in the works.
Responses provided were decidedly lower in the core area of Clovis (west of Fowler Avenue, south of Herndon Avenue) in almost all service areas. This was also true for renters. Despite the lower level of satisfaction by this geographic area and the renter demographic, 73 percent of residents in those areas still would recommend Clovis as a place to live and 86 percent state Clovis is a great place to raise children. The most satisfied region is north of Herndon Avenue and homeowners.
Haussler said the National Citizen’s Survey is used to determine a city’s strengths and weaknesses as well as identify service strengths and weaknesses. This time around, the survey was sent to a representative sample of 1400 residents. There was a 20 percent response rate and a five percent margin of error.
“The goal of the survey is to improve our services, get more civic engagement, develop public trust and in the immediate sense measure how well we’re doing in our services compared to other cities across the nation and regionally,” Haussler said. “The categories the citizens survey measures us on include Community quality, community design, public safety, environmentally sustainability, recreation and wellness, community inclusiveness, civic engagement and community trust. It’s not simply just something the city provides, but it is the overall experience the survey taker has in the city of Clovis as a resident.”