New data from Buncombe County residents will help Commissioners and staff prioritize needs in the coming years. In 2021, staff worked with ETC Institute to develop and deliver a community satisfaction survey. Buncombe County is committed to using the results of the Community Survey as a key data point in driving strategic, operational, and budgetary decisions. “We wanted to assess perceptions of the County as a place and the services of its government in an objective way,” explains County Manager Avril Pinder. “This survey provides us with a wealth of data that can help us to identify areas where we are excelling, but also areas of opportunity to make improvement.”
The seven-page survey was delivered to a random sample, and responses came in from all over the County. It was available in multiple languages and methods including paper, telephone, and online. The goal was to have 500 people complete the feedback, and staff is pleased to have received 753 completed surveys or 166% of our goal. This marks the first time Buncombe County has used a community satisfaction survey to gather information.
The survey covers a number of core services and overall perceptions about Buncombe County’s service delivery. Overall, the County is happy with our customer service metrics showing us 74% of people are very satisfied or satisfied with the courtesy of our employees and other high marks concerning the accuracy of information we provide and timeliness of responses. “Despite all the challenges our employees have faced recently with COVID and staffing shortages, they still provide excellent service to the community, and the residents who responded to the survey overwhelmingly recognized that fact,” notes Director of Strategy & Innovation Rafael Baptista.
Getting information directly from our residents also helps us uncover blind spots. For example, people want more input on County initiatives. While there is more work to be done in that area, Buncombe County recently rolled out a new engagement portal, created service accountability dashboards, and is working on other ways to bolster meaningful interaction.
The survey also reinforces some issues staff and Commissioners are already aware of. “The housing affordability responses reinforce the Commissioners’ commitment to aggressively make progress on building out the County’s affordable housing portfolio,” says Baptista. Currently, Buncombe is in the process of evaluating county-owned property on Ferry Road for an affordable housing project and recently wrapped up a successful homeowner grant program. While affordable housing is part of the County Commissioners’ 2025 Strategic Plan and our Affordable Housing Committee is actively working with community partners, we will proactively look at other ways to prioritize this need.
This important feedback will certainly shape upcoming policy and budget decisions while reinforcing current Board of Commissioners’ priorities such as affordable housing. “This survey represents direct input from our residents, and they spoke loud and clear on what they saw as the biggest priorities for the County,” says Baptista.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this survey, Buncombe County appreciates your feedback and will use it moving forward with policy decisions, budget prioritization, and other key factors.
You can view the survey results and additional information below.