At the Las Vegas City Council meeting today, the council unveiled the “Your City, Your Way” effort, designed to understand residents’ attitudes about the city and its program and services as it navigates through these difficult economic times.
The citizen input will be used to help the city make financial decisions as it faces a $240 million budget shortfall over the next five years.
The city has created a Web site, www.lasvegasnevada.gov/yourcity to encourage citizen input, and is also reaching out through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Las Vegas residents are encouraged to visit the city’s Web site to take the survey, or attend one of the upcoming Town Hall meeting. Citizens can also follow the program via Twitter at CityofLasVegas for alerts or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CityOfLasVegas.
As part of the initiative, the city contracted with the UNLV Cannon Survey Center to conduct a telephone survey of city of Las Vegas residents to: 1) identify satisfaction levels with city services; 2) identify if citizens feel the city resources are well placed or should be reallocated to other programs; 3) identify unmet community needs; and 4) identify attitudes and feelings toward any budget cutting measures. The Canon Survey Center provided the results of the survey during today’s council meeting. Some of the highlights include:
- An average of 80 percent or higher of respondents indicated a feeling of being "somewhat satisfied" or "satisfied" with city programs or services.
- City residents indicated favor for moving money from other programs to support economic development to create jobs.
- 67.3-percent of residents "agree" or "strongly agree" that the quality and diversity of programs and services offered by the city address the needs of the community.
- More than 25-percent of city residents are looking for other work to supplement their income.
- More than 24-percent of residents reported being greatly affected personally by the current economic downturn.
- More than 52-percent of residents "agree" or "somewhat agree" that they would be willing to pay more in order to maintain city programs.
The telephone survey is the first phase of the Your City, Your Way effort. Currently, the UNLV Department of Sociology is conducting five focus panels in different parts of the city to refine the data and provide anecdotal and qualitative evidence to help city management identify appropriate budget cutting options for the council’s consideration as part of the Fundamental Service Review. The third component will be a series of town hall meetings during the months of January and February 2010 explaining those options and the potential impacts to the public. Those town hall meetings will take place in every ward, and participation by city residents is encouraged.
In January, the city manager will be presenting to the council a series of options to meet a $25 million reduction to the fiscal year 2011 budget. The citizen data will be used to help formulate recommendations to the council, so public input is essential in helping the city make sound financial decisions.