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City survey reveals concern over roads

With a 23 percent return rate, some Rio Ranchoans are wondering if the money spent on the 2015 city survey was money well spent.

“With a survey sent to only 2,200 residents and a return of 491, less than 25%, it hardly ranks as an accurate representation of how people feel about living in the city of vision,” Patricia Hackney posted on the Rio Rancho Observer’s website, rrobserver.com. “How much money was spent on this?”

It was $17,000, according to Mayor Gregg Hull, and he said it was worth every penny.

“It gives us a clear understanding of what citizens are looking for,” Hull said. “It’s no surprise roads topped the issues.”

Out of the 491 respondents, 253 “strongly agreed” the city’s roads need to be improved and 76 percent approved of a $10 property tax hike to help fund those projects.

Other response highlights included:

  • 84 percent of respondents rated Rio Rancho an excellent or good place to live.
  • 51 percent gave Rio Rancho’s downtown/commercial area a poor ranking.
  • 23 percent said local government was lacking when it came to being honest and only 5 percent said it was excellent.

“The survey reinforced my impression … that District 3 residents are concerned about maintaining the high quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said District 3 Councilor Cheryl Everett. “I think the survey results are a wake-up call to the city to move forward with ethics standards and enforcement at the earliest opportunity.”

In October, 2,200 Rio Rancho households were randomly selected to participate. Results show 491 surveys were returned, equaling a 23 percent response rate.

The polling is part of the National Citizen Survey to measure a community’s livability.

“The percent of returns is no surprise,” said local resident Don Evanston. “The bad part is, with such a small number of returned surveys, the results have little or no meaning. Unfortunately, it is obvious that most of the people in Rio Rancho aren’t too interested in what is going on and that is sad.”

City spokeswoman Annemarie García echoed the mayor’s belief that the survey helps the City of Vision map out its vision for the future.

“The city conducted this survey to identify community strengths and weaknesses, establish benchmarks for tracking the quality of services provided to residents, and gain useful information for immediate and long-term planning,” she said.

The survey also collected separate data for each of the six council districts.

District 1 placed less importance on feelings of safety, the overall built environment and the general economic health of Rio Rancho.

District 2 was also supportive of having domestic livestock on any residential lot – including chickens, bee apiaries, general domestic livestock and fowl.

District 3 gave higher marks to the value of services for the taxes paid, the overall direction of Rio Rancho and customer service provided by city employees.

District 4 respondents liked the ease of getting to places they normally visit and overall quality of new development in Rio Rancho.

Respondents from District 5 were more likely to rate mobility aspects, such as street repair and street cleaning, as excellent or good.

District 6 wasn’t too keen about the city’s performance regarding land use, planning and zoning, code enforcement and overall economic development.

For comparison purposes, Rio Rancho’s data was measured against the average rating from government jurisdictions in the National Research Center Inc.

To see the complete survey responses, visit rrnm.gov/citizensurvey.

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