In spite of the recovering economy and ongoing investigations into the Police Department, a recent survey shows that 96% of Burbank residents generally are satisfied with the city.
About 78% of those surveyed reported they were very satisfied overall with Burbank's services, and 18% said they were somewhat satisfied. Another 3% said they were somewhat dissatisfied, less than 1% said they were very dissatisfied, and 1% had no opinion.
The last citizen survey was conducted in 2001 and showed a 95% general satisfaction with city services.
"It was a little different this time because the last one was pre-9/11, the economy was good, there was no Bell scandal, and the state wasn't taking money from us," said Deputy City Manager Justin Hess. "Now we have record unemployment, the state is in a world of hurt, we have record unemployment and a downturn in the housing market, but luckily we are still finding ways to provide high levels of service."
Still, he added, Burbank can do many things to progress and move forward as a city.
"We are using the results as a springboard to look at areas where we could see improvement for delivery of services," he said.
The city plans to ask for further input from employees and commissioners and through community forums as officials develop Burbank's next 10-year strategic plan.
"This is the perfect time to look back while still thinking ahead," Hess said. "We can capture how the citizens see the next 10 years in Burbank."
The issues that residents voiced the largest concerns about in 2001 — airport expansion and utilities — have since been replaced with quality of schools, the economy, unemployment and traffic.
The survey does not indicate a decline in satisfaction with public safety services even after an FBI probe into the Burbank Police Department for alleged use-of-force violations.
Respondents also said they appreciated response times by fire, paramedics and police and a low crime rate.
"One index of our success is managing to keep a good level of response time — about 3.1 minutes," said Police Chief Scott LaChasse. "We've been able to maintain that and respond to citizen complaints in a timely manner."
The department has also solidified its reputation by responding to all complaints instead of offering excuses, he added.
"After working in the Los Angeles Police Department and all the complaints we would hear over there, there is nothing like that in Burbank."
Potential areas for improvement identified in the survey included expansion of programs through the Park, Recreation and Community Services Department, more adult literacy help at libraries and affordable housing.
Dependence on local television for news about Burbank has declined, but use of the Internet and the city website for information has increased exponentially, the survey found.
Awareness of the city's website increased 60% since the last survey and 72% of respondents said they would most likely use social networking sites to receive information about the city.
The full 300-page report will be available online and at Burbank libraries by next week, officials said.