Mayor's memo collage

In the 2020 community survey, City staff received an 86% approval rating for the services they provide, an all-time high.

Mayor’s memo: Taking stock of our annual survey results

By Mayor Tim Busse

Here in Bloomington, we’ve conducted an annual National Community Survey™ for 12 years now. The survey gives the City Council and staff valuable insights into how you relate to your local government; how you relate to the community; and how you relate to the environment around you. We use that data to inform our decision-making. Our 2020 survey gave us some interesting data to chew on. For example: it was pretty clear that the pandemic and the protests around racial justice had an impact on our community. Economic stability and people’s views on their financial prospects have clearly been affected by the economic fallout of COVID-19. 

Meanwhile, people’s concern for addressing social, economic and racial equity differences in education, criminal justice and health are all top priorities. Community safety also continues to be a top priority, with people expressing that they feel very safe in their own neighborhoods, but are concerned that the overall sense of safety in the community is declining. 

City staff received an 86% approval rating for their customer service—an all-time high that achieved one of our strategic goals around quality service delivery by exceeding an 85% approval rating. Another result that illustrates just how much residents value the services provided by City staff is that 70% of respondents felt the value of taxes paid for services received is a good deal. That number is higher than the national benchmark of communities around the country. In fact, it is in the top 10% nationally. 

One of the most important reasons we conduct the resident survey is to understand how people feel about the overall quality of life in Bloomington. In the 12 years we have been doing the survey, the response to this question has been remarkably consistent. The highest response was 92% in 2017 and the lowest was 85% in 2016. 

In 2020, 88% of residents who took the survey said the overall quality of life in Bloomington was excellent or good. That is a slight uptick of two points from 2019. Survey respondents feel great about living in Bloomington—92% rated the city as an excellent or good place to live. That feeling about living in Bloomington is also consistently strong, ranging between 90 – 95% every year. 

This was unquestionably the most unusual year in which we have conducted the National Community Survey™ in Bloomington. Despite the challenges presented by a global pandemic, social unrest, and economic downturn, the survey results were upbeat in many areas. It shows how positively you and other residents feel about our City services and the direction that we’re heading.