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We Asked, You Answered: Buncombe Shares Community Survey Results

As Commissioners start the process of creating their Strategic Plan 2030, the recently completed community survey results will be a critical piece of public input that will help inform those priorities. County staff would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s survey, we had over 500 respondents, a more than scientifically viable rate that provides us with an excellent source of data. “The community survey is one way for the County to connect with residents and it accomplishes three primary goals: It allows us to learn directly from residents what their priorities are and how they view our shared community; it helps County staff better understand how our residents choose to engage with us, the quality of their experiences, and their level of satisfaction with County services; and it’s an invaluable source of information for the 2030 Strategic Plan,” explains Strategy & Innovation Director Rafael Baptista. 

Additionally, County Manager Avril Pinder says one of the survey’s primary goals is to help keep tabs on and help increase trust in local government. “This process lets us see how we are progressing and maintaining our focus on what the public wants and expects from us – this serves as a report card for us,” says Avril. “It’s important to note our customer service continues to be above standard and I’d like to give a huge thanks to our employees for displaying excellent customer service and a One Buncombe spirit.” 

What did we learn?
This is the second time Buncombe County engaged in a community survey, with the inaugural effort being in 2021. “Overall, the results are not a huge departure from the previous survey outcomes. Library Services, Parks & Recreation, and Emergency Medical Services all scored well in terms of service satisfaction, but satisfaction was lower with the County’s current Solid Waste contractor Waste Pro and our storm water requirements. Additionally, survey respondents would like us to up our game in terms of providing opportunities for engagement and additional County communications,” notes Rafael. “On the whole, we’ve held firm in terms of satisfaction with core services, though there were areas, such as Soil & Water and Public Health, where there were material declines. Other areas, such as EMS, 911, and Election Services saw slight increases in satisfaction. Rafael says overall satisfaction is slightly lower than the original survey, adding that new questions provide important insights but don’t have previous data comparisons. However, the questions are intentionally designed to be inline with similar surveys distributed in communities across North Carolina and beyond. “We benchmark against local governments nationally and in the Atlantic region, and overall, Buncombe County outpaces or parallels our peers in those benchmarks regarding perceptions of the community as a place to visit, live, retire, and as a place where people feel welcome regardless of race or ethnicity. There is some work to do regarding the County as a place to raise children and work and we are committed to doing that.” 

Some key takeaways
According to survey results (based on a five-point scale of Excellent, Good, Neutral, Below Average, Poor): 

  • 85% of residents rated the County “excellent” or “good” as a place to visit.
  • 70% gave the County “excellent” or “good” ratings as a place to play.
  • 60% indicated the County is an “excellent” or “good” place to live.
  • 77% report being satisfied with the quality of the County’s library services.
  • Other County services that respondents were satisfied with include:
    • 74% are satisfied with the quality of Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
    • 69% are satisfied with the quality of emergency 911 services.
    • 61% are satisfied with the quality of the County’s Election Services.
    • 60% are satisfied with the quality of the County’s Parks & Recreation services.
  • 88% report feeling safe when alone in their neighborhood during the day.
  • 72% state they feel safe when alone in their neighborhood at night.
  • 57% felt safe overall in Buncombe County.
  • Click here to view the results (or download the attached PDF)

The community survey covers a large variety of topics and County departments. If you would like to look at the report provided from our third-party vendor, you can download the PDF below.

What happens now?
Information from the community surveys is already helping shape the Strategic Plan 2030. Further, the data is being distributed to department heads so they can assess and incorporate pertinent information into their operations and share with staff how they can continue to deliver high-quality service while looking at ways to meaningfully take on opportunities for improvement. “The information that we glean from this survey helps inform the County’s daily operations and strategic outlook for the next several years. We take the feedback seriously,” says Rafael. “The community survey is something that we will be undertaking every few years, so there will be another opportunity for community input where that is concerned.” Meantime, you can engage with us by getting up-to-date information and providing feedback for the Strategic Priority 2030 plan by completing the online survey found here.

Table: News Item Documents
File NameSizeTypeDate & Time Added
2024 Buncombe County Survey Report 1 MB 06/11/2024 8:57 AM

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Updated Jun 11, 2024 09:05 AM
Published Jun 11, 2024 08:52 AM

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