Citizens speak out about the City of Madison

A three page survey was mailed to a random sample of 30 registered voters in District 3 during June and July as part of an effort to assess citizen satisfaction with the quality of city services. The completed surveys were returned to the office of the city clerk; no identification was provided of respondents other than voluntary demographic information. District 3 includes Gibson’s Trailer Park, Merchant Quarters, Livingston Springs Subdivision, Shelby Street Extension, and several blocks to the East of Horry Avenue and North of Bunker Street. There are three churches: Beulah Star, Grace Presbyterian and the Madison Church of Christ. The area includes the site of the former Metal Products Plant as well as a shopping area which includes Food Giant. Citizens were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with city services, the city itself, city leaders, code enforcement and city communication on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 means “Very Satisfied,” 1 means “Very Dissatisfied,” and zero means “Do not know/no response.” The first portion involved major categories of city services. Eighty-five percent of the respondents who returned the survey rated the quality of police services as 4 or 5, 15 percent responded with 3 or “don’t know/no response.” Eighty-five percent of the respondents rated the quality of firefighting services as 4 or 5 and 15 percent responded with “don’t know/no response.” Seventy-seven percent of the respondents rated the quality of parks and recreation services as 5 or 4; 15 percent rated it at a 3 and 8 percent gave it a 2.

Eighty five percent of the respondents rated the quality of the city’s customer services as 4 or 5; 15 percent rated it a 3. 41 percent of respondents rated the maintenance of the city’s infrastructure a 4 or 5, while 38 percent rated it at 3, eight percent gave it a 2 and eight percent answered with 0, meaning “don’t know/no response.” Thirty-eight percent of respondents rated enforcement of city codes and ordinances at 4 or 5, 23 percent rated it at a 3, 15 percent gave it a 2, nine percent gave a 1 and 15 percent gave no response. 100 percent of respondents rated the collection of garbage and yard waste at a 4 or 5. 54 percent of respondents gave effectiveness of the city’s communication with the public a 4 (satisfied), 23 percent ranked it at a 3, 15 percent chose 2 and eight percent had no response. The next portion asked respondents about their perception of the city. When asked how satisfied they were with the value received for their city tax dollars and fees, 60 percent responded with 5 (very satisfied or 4 (satisfied). When asked about their satisfaction with the overall image of the city, 70 percent of respondents answered with a 4 or 5, 15 percent chose 3, 15 percent selected 2 and eight percent chose one. On the overall appearance of the city, 62 percent of respondents chose 4, 22 percent chose 3, eight percent chose 2 and eight percent declined to answer. On the appearance of the city, 62 percent chose 4, 22 percent chose 3 and eight percent answered 2.

On the quality of city services, 77 percent answered with a 4 or 5, and 23 percent chose 3. The next portion required respondents to rate Madison on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “poor” and 5 meaning “excellent.” When asked to rate Madison as a place to live, 77 percent chose 4 or 5, 15 percent answered 3 and eight percent chose 2. When asked to rate Madison as a place to raise children, 46 percent chose 4 or 5, 38 percent selected 3, eight percent chose 2, and eight percent selected one.

On Madison as a place to work, 31 percent selected 4, 46 percent chose 3 and 23 percent selected 2. The next portion required respondents to rate their satisfaction with city leadership, with 1 meaning “very dissatisfied,” 5 meaning “very satisfied,” and 0 meaning “don’t know/no response.” On the quality of leadership provided by the city commissioners, 15 percent selected 5, 55 percent chose 4, 15 percent selected 2 and 15 percent answered 0, “don’t know/no response.” On the effectiveness of appointed boards (Code Enforcement, Planning and Zoning), eight percent selected 5, 23 percent chose 4, 30 percent selected 3, eight percent chose 2, eight percent chose 1 and 23 percent selected 0. Next, citizens were asked to rate their satisfaction with code enforcement. On the cleanup of debris and litter, 85 percent of respondents selected 5 or 4 and 15 percent selected 3. On the cleanup of large junk and abandoned vehicles, 53 percent answered 4 or 5, eight percent seleted 3, 23 percent selected 2, eight percent chose 1 and eight percent answered 0, “don’t know/no resonse.” On the cleanup of overgrown and weedy lots, only eight percent of respondents answered with a 5, 31 percent answered with a 4, 23 percent chose 3 and 38 percent selected 2.

On the city’s efforts to remove dilapidated structures, 8 percent rated their satisfaction with a 5, 23 percent selected 4, 15 percent chose 3, 23 percent selected 2, eight percent selected 1 and 15 percent chose 0, “don’t know/no response.” On the enforcement of loud music/noise, 8 percent responded with 5, 23 percent selected 4, 15 percent chose 3, 15 percent chose 2, 15 percent chose 1 and 23 percent answered with 0, “don’t know/no response.” On the control of nuisance animals, 15 percent responded with 5, 15 percent chose 4, 23 percent selected 3, 31 percent chose 2 and 15 percent answered with 0, “don’t know/no response.” When asked which selections should receive the most attention from the city in the next two years, 50 percent of participants responded with efforts to remove dilapidated structures and 33 percent selected the cleanup of overgrown and weedy lots. When respondents were asked if they could improve one thing about the City of Madison, many open-ended comments were provided. Some included: “Lower taxes could help encourage people to live in the city limits,” “Improve city roads,” “Unfortunately, at first glance, Madison looks as poor as it is . . . Let’s put the welcome mat out for visitors,” “Clean up ramshackle buildings and maintain trees, city streets, curbs, etc.,” “This is the first town I’ve lived in without street cleaners and maintenance,” “The few quality eating establishments,” “Gas is cheaper in Valdosta and Greenville,” “angle parking at Four Freedoms Park.”

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