Scarborough Town Hall

Scarborough Town Hall Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard

SCARBOROUGH — While Scarborough residents would like more work conducted on roads and town infrastructure, on the whole, they say they are satisfied with the quality of life in their town. That according to a recent community survey, the results  of which were the topic of a Town Council workshop on Jan. 5.

Jason Morado of ETC Institute presented the summary of the results to councilors. ETC Institute, a national leader in market research for local governmental organizations that specialize in conducting community surveys, created the survey for Scarborough and sent it out in the fall to randomly selected residents throughout the town. Others took the survey online. The town last conducted a community survey 11 years ago.

“The main conclusions to the survey we found that residents have a very positive perception of the town of Scarborough,” Morado said. “Eighty-six percent of responders were satisfied with the overall quality of life in Scarborough. Which is an outstanding number, much higher than most other communities. We also found that satisfaction with town services is much higher in Scarborough than it is in other communities. Scarborough rated above the U.S. average in 59 of 68 areas.”  

“There are several reasons to conduct a survey like this,” said Jason Morado of the ETC Institute. “One is to get an objective assessment of how satisfied residents are with the delivery of major town services and also help determine what residents feel are the top priorities for the community. Hopefully this survey will also help set up a baseline for future surveys. A lot of communities we work with conduct these surveys every two to three years and include a lot of the same questions each time so that we can start measuring trends over time. We are also able to compare your community’s results with other communities across the country.” 

The information compiled in this survey will be used to help better serve the community and will help leaders focus on topics that best reflect the needs of the community, Morado said.

Results of the community survey showed the major categories of town services that residents feel that town leaders should focus on over the next two years include the flow of traffic and ease of getting around within the town, and the maintenance of streets, sidewalks and infrastructure. The survey reported that improvements were needed in snow removal on town streets, conditions of major town streets, street lighting, conditions of neighborhood streets and conditions of sidewalks.

The top responses to the issues of concern facing Scarborough over the next five years were the pace of community growth/expansion, affordability of town services and affordable housing. 

Residents, according to the survey, said they are satisfied with how safe they feel in the town due to the quality of public safety; residents were also satisfied by the overall quality of trash collection services and curbside recycling services.

Scarborough rates above the Northeast regional average and the national average in all 12 areas related to parks and recreation and community services and has a 75 percent satisfaction rate with the towns response to COVID-19. 

Scarborough rated 14 percent above the U.S. average with the overall approval of quality of town services and rated 42 percent above the U.S. average in approval of customer service from the town employees.

The survey was seven pages and took approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. Once the surveys were mailed the ETC Institute sent out emails and texts to the households that received the survey to encourage participation and created an online version of the survey to make it easy for residents to complete and send back.

“We had a good distribution all throughout the town and we also made sure we had a good representation of key demographic areas such as age, race/ethnicity and gender,” Morado said.

“Our goal was to receive 600 completed surveys and we had a really good response event though the survey was conducted a little before the holiday season. This was conducted really from November to early December. We ended up with 862 completed surveys and the results from the 862 surveys at the 95 percent level of confidence has a margin of error +/- 3.2 percent. Which essentially this means that if we conducted this survey the same way 100 times 95 times the results would be +/-3.2 percent from what we were reporting. The results aren’t perfect but there is only a small margin of error,” Morado said.

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