City government — Survey shows citizens enjoy Newberg, but would like to see some changes

After an extra week of analysis, the comment section from the city of Newberg Citizen Survey has been released. The comment portion focused on seven sections; general improvement, public safety, economic development, quality of life, public works, finance, and customer service — which was split into improvements and positive comments.

About 200 people responded with comments in the various sections providing more specific input into their views.

For general improvement, 27 percent of respondents wanted to see quality of life improved, with customer service and economic development close behind and 17.4 and 17.8 percent respectively.

There were three main concerns for public safety, but traffic was rated overwhelmingly more important with 73.6 percent of votes.

Respondents gave ten different suggestions for economic development, most common was providing more to do for seniors, kids and families. But other suggestions included a Trader Joe’s, a bowling alley and more business development.

Quality of life received ten areas of suggestions as well including general cleanup of vegetation, with 23.1 percent, animal control, with 16.2 percent and a better downtown with 12.7 percent.

There were only two sections of comments for public works splitting street repair with 70 percent of the vote and better sidewalks with 30 percent.

Financially, 67.3 percent thought utility costs were too high and 23.1 percent wanted to lower taxes.

Fourteen percent of negative comments concerning customer service were not specific to any department, but 24.8 percent of comments expressed concern with the police department — specifically Animal Control. About 20 percent expressed a desire for improved communication from the city.

Positive customer service comments were given in general, to the legal department, police department, planning and building, public works, the fire department and the library.

“We are very pleased with the turnout, everything was rated either excellent or good in most categories,” said Brittney Jeffries, public affairs officer for the city. “600 surveys were returned. We’re excited because it shows the city wants to be involved.”

City Manager Lee Elliott said the comment section was split 55-45 between positive and negative comments, so they are starting to look at which areas were of most concern to citizens and relay that information to the city council.

This year he said the three areas that seemed to be most important to citizens were public safety, library services and street repairs.

He said the survey will probably be an annual event because it’s a good place to start with measuring the city’s performance.

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