Merriam resident survey shows growing satisfaction with quality of life; support to upgrade pool and community center


Merriam residents to a large extent are satisfied with the quality of life in the city and the quality and value they receive for city services.

“We’ve done a pretty good job,” Assistant City Administrator Chris Engel told the city council this week while reporting the results of the city’s latest community survey. The 2015 survey followed similar surveys in 2012 and 2006, so the data also reveals trends in how Merriam residents view city services.

Combining responses in the “very satisfied” and “satisfied” categories show that residents were satisfied with the quality of life in the city (87 percent), the quality of city services (88 percent), the value received for tax dollars (74 percent) and the image of the city (73 percent). The satisfaction with the image of the city jumped by 12 points since the last survey. Satisfaction with the city’s handling of development issues jumped 22 points.

The police and fire departments also fared well in the survey results. The quality of police protection had an 89 percent approval and fire protection an 87 percent approval. Public interaction with the police department showed a 10-point jump since 2012. The quality of animal control services, though, dropped by 6 points.

Merriam residents also were satisfied with the maintenance of city parks (91 percent) the farmers market (82 percent) and the number of city parks (81 percent). The ease of registering for programs saw a drop in satisfaction as did the aquatic center and the fitness center, both of which the city is addressing.

Most people who had used the aquatic center or community center had a positive view of them, 83 percent for the pool and 75 percent for the community center. However, 66 percent of the residents responding said the city should contemplate significant upgrades or potential replacements for the two facilities. They also said it is important for Merriam to continue its support for a community center (91 percent) and a municipal pool (88 percent).

Among the trends from 2006 to 2015, the most improvement (15 point jump) was for city employees doing what they say they will do in a timely manner. The public interaction with police (14 points) and visibility of police in neighborhoods (12 percent jump) also led the improved responses. Overall quality of life in the city showed a 10 percent satisfaction increase in those years.

Satisfaction with city leadership and the city manager and staff also showed increases since 2012 and are above 65 percent.

The resident satisfaction survey was completed by ETC Institute and had a statistically valid sample. In benchmarks, satisfaction levels in Merriam were higher in most categories than those in other cities across Kansas and in the Kansas City metropolitan area.