PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A community satisfaction survey conducted in Providence is shedding light on some of the most pressing issues for residents and businesses.
Mayor Brett Smiley’s office on Tuesday released the results of the survey, which was distributed in the second month of his administration.
The city used Public Policy Polling to conduct the telephone and text-based poll, in addition to an online survey available in seven languages. The telephone and text-based poll was conducted from February 16-17, while respondents could complete the online poll from Feb. 15 through March 15.
The mayor’s office said it received 605 responses to the phone survey and 3,425 responses to the online survey.
Housing was a major concern for respondents. When asked about the affordability of housing, 65% of respondents said they were dissatisfied, while 57% said they were dissatisfied with the availability of housing in the city.
When it comes to schools, 59% of people said they’re somewhat or very dissatisfied with the quality of public education in Providence.
The poll showed that 71% of residents and 69% of business owners are displeased with the condition of roads and sidewalks. The city budget signed into law earlier this summer included $193,000 for sidewalk improvements.
Additionally, nearly half of the respondents said they’re dissatisfied with the city’s overall appearance. Smiley’s spending plan included two new public works employees for trash and litter removal, five new workers for graffiti removal, and four more for sidewalk maintenance.
When asked if they’d consider Providence a good place to retire, almost half (48%) of respondents said they aren’t satisfied, while 30% of residents indicated they were satisfied.
The survey also asked how people felt about PVD311, the city’s app to make public service requests. The results showed 70% of constituents had never used the system.
Forty-three percent of residents said they were dissatisfied with public safety.
Smiley’s office noted that funding was set aside for additional police and fire academies, which will improve staffing and reduce overtime costs.
Sixty percent of business owners who took the survey said they’re unhappy with business growth and development in the city. When asked about their biggest concerns, 31% said it’s public safety, followed by taxes at 20%.
The mayor’s first budget raised residential property taxes, but slightly lowered commercial property taxes.
Sheila Dormody, chief of policy and resiliency, said the feedback from the surveys helps the city create policy initiatives and investment opportunities to address its biggest needs.
“It is critical for our constituents to have a voice in the policy decisions that impact their daily lives,” Dormody said in a news release.