2012 Residential Survey Report

The City of Sterling Heights and its quality services, especially those providing public safety, get rave reviews from the vast majority of residents who view the community as an excellent or good place to live and raise a family, according to results of the 2012 Sterling Heights Residential Survey.

The survey, issued in November 2012, was conducted by Info Group, Inc. of Omaha, NE with the goal of gathering resident feedback to help prioritize services, gauge satisfaction levels and formulate future policy. Sterling Heights Community Relations Director Steve Guitar and Bernie Galing, Info Group's director of market research, will present the findings to the Sterling Heights City Council on Tuesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. as part of the City's Annual Strategic Planning Meeting in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Consisting of about 90 questions, the survey covered a wide range of topics; from importance of various City programs and services to overall quality of life questions and to gauge residents' feelings about Sterling Heights as place to live, work and play.

Overall, nearly 86% of survey respondents indicated that Sterling Heights offers an excellent or good quality of life with nearly 90% stating it is an excellent or good place to live and 77% saying the City is an excellent or good place to raise their children.

Good Place to Live
According to Galing, the quality of life survey questions posed in this survey and the City's 2006 Residential Survey were very similar and well within the margin of error and therefore, statistically, there was virtually no change from the 2006 survey. Galing explains that the sample size of 476 people achieves a +-5% margin of error at a 95% confidence level in survey responses (the same parameters used by the City in the last 2 City surveys).

"Considering the financial challenges the City has experienced while navigating the downturn in Michigan's economy, continuing to achieve high marks in service delivery is a significant accomplishment in of itself," he said.

The 2012 survey contained several "open-ended" questions where survey recipients could answer, in their own words, a series of questions about Sterling Heights. One question, designed to elicit an honest response, asked residents to, "describe Sterling Heights in 1 word" and then rate that word as positive, negative, or neutral. Results show that nearly 67% rated their 1 word as "positive." The most common descriptions of the City point to satisfaction and pride in the community: "Home / Family" (13.7%), "Safe" (11.3%), and "Nice / Clean" (10.3%).

Respondents agree that City services perform well. The fire, police, and parks & recreation departments were the highest rated services in the City, all of which were rated as "excellent" or "good" by more than 80% of the respondents. The library, community relations, and public works were also rated highly.

Good Value for Taxes Paid

Results show that 78% of residents feel that they not only get a good value for the taxes they pay, but that the City uses those tax dollars wisely.

Galing said that the results clearly indicate that Sterling Heights is a good place to live and residents feel safe in the City. At least 92% somewhat agree that they feel safe during the day. While this drops during nighttime hours, more than 80% still feel at least somewhat safe at night in the City.

"Most respondents indicate support for the possibility of raising the millage rate to avoid additional Police Department and Fire Department layoffs," he said.

When faced with a choice of laying-off additional police and fire personnel, or agreeing to an increase in the millage rate, about half of respondent support raising the millage rate to avert additional police and fire layoffs. About 1/4 (26%) of respondents "strongly" agree that staffing levels should be maintained and "strongly" support a millage increase to maintain these levels. Almost a quarter (23%) are neutral on the subject. About a quarter (27%) of residents who answered the question were on the opposite side, opposing a millage increase to support maintaining current staffing levels, with 13.8 "strongly" disagreeing with the question.

Most Residents Feel Safe in the City
“Despite streamlining and improving our service delivery processes over the past 6 years,” Mayor Richard Notte said, “the results of this new survey show that Sterling Heights remains a premier community and moreover, reconfirm what our residents tell us on a daily basis, which is that the quality of life in Sterling Heights remains at a very high level. The residents who contribute to our quality of life, as well as the City Council, administration and City employees, should be very proud of these results.”

Community Relations Director Steve Guitar says that when the results of the 2012 Residential Survey are printed, the document will be shared with departmental administrators who will use the data to prioritize and improve services to the public.

“Whether its taking a phone call, reviewing a ‘We Want to Know’ e-form or reading a personal letter or email, we take all feedback to heart when formulating budget priorities and brainstorming ways to better serve our residents,” Guitar said. “As administrators, we will examine the data sets of each question in this Residential Survey and use that valued information in the development and refinement of future City programs and services.”

For more information, contact Community Relations at 586-446-CITY (2489).