Survey gives Richmond Heights high marks

Richmond Heights residents continue to rate their city favorably as a place to live, work, shop, and raise families, according to municipality’s 2015 National Citizens Survey (NCS).

“Almost all Richmond Heights residents (96 percent) gave excellent or good ratings to the overall quality of life in Richmond Heights,” the NCS summary notes.

The city ranks above national benchmarks for factors such as ease of travel, availability of housing options, a vibrant shopping/commercial district and as a good place to work, City Manager Amy Hamilton noted, presenting the survey results to the city council earlier this month.

Nearly all respondents ranked Richmond Heights, and their neighborhoods, as a good or excellent place to live, according to the survey results.  At least 8 in 10 were pleased with the overall image and appearance of the city, with a similar percentage calling Richmond Heights as a good or excellent place to raise children.

“Additionally, nearly all residents would recommend living in Richmond Heights to someone who asked and nearly 9 in 10 planned to remain in Richmond Heights for the next five years,” the survey results note.

Ratings for Richmond Heights as a place to raise children and the overall appearance of the city increased since the city’s last citizen survey in 2012, Hamilton noted.

The survey finds residents cite safety and economic development as priorities for the next two years; giving the city high marks for present efforts in both of those areas.

More than 8 in 10 residents gave excellent or good ratings for overall safety in the city. At least 9 in 10 residents gave positive ratings to police, fire and ambulance/EMS services and at least three quarters favorably rated crime prevention and fire prevention services.

The National Citizen Survey is administered under contract with local municipalities by the National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), which capture residents’ opinions on three “pillars of a community“ (community characteristics, governance and participation) and eight “central facets” of community life (safety, mobility, natural environment, built environment, economy, recreation and wellness, education and enrichment and community engagement).

NCS surveys were previously conducted in Richmond Heights in 2012 and 2009.  Over time, ratings have held steady for most of the78 specific factors addressed in the survey, with ratings for eight increasing in the most recent survey and only two decreasing.

Surveys were mailed this year to 1,400 residences; with 411 – or a statistically significant 25 percent – responding, Hamilton told the council.

Responding to a special survey question, 54 percent of city residents supported elimination of leaf vacuuming as a possible city budget cutting measure.

Complete survey results are available on the city web site.

In other action during its Dec. 8 meeting, the council:

  • Issued In & Out Market a special one-time liquor tasting event license.
  • Gave final approval to a local use tax, set at the same rate as the city’s sales tax, on purchases exceeding $2,000 from out-of-state vendors.  City voters approved the tax in November. The new tax will take effect 30 days following council approval, on about Jan. 6.
  • Reappointed Timothy Day and Stephen Holmes to the board of trustees of the Richmond Heights Policemen and Firemen Retirement Fund.
  • Reappointed Mark Mueller to the Richmond Heights Board of Adjustment and Appeals.

Following the regular meeting, the council met in executive session with City Attorney Kenneth Heinz and Hamilton regarding St. Louis County Municipal League sales tax policy and a new St. Louis County law requiring uniform standards for municipal police departments.

The Dec. 8 Richmond Heights City Council meeting was the last of the year. The council cancelled its scheduled Dec. 21 meeting due to lack of pressing agenda items.

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