Survey: Sanitary District customers like their service

The Cosa Mesa Sanitary District has received an 89.9% approval rating from residents, according to a survey conducted by a local research firm on the district's behalf.

Survey conductors speaking English, Spanish and Vietnamese polled 1,000 voters within the district via landline and cell phone April 19 to 26, according to the report published by Probolsky Research, Newport Beach. The firm's principal, Adam Probolsky, is a well known for political polling.

An earlier version of this story stated that Adam Probolsky is a well-known Republican Party pollster. In fact, his firm does non-partisan work and work for Democrats.

"I think [residents] are satisfied because we're providing a lot of services that a lot of sanitary districts don't and I think we're doing a good job in those services," district Director Art Perry said Wednesday.

Voters indicated that they are satisfied with their trash service, with 94% agreeing that they are satisfied, 3.5% not satisfied and 2.5% unsure.

Of those who were satisfied with their trash service, 71.6% rated themselves as very satisfied.

Overall, only 28.3% of those surveyed were able to identify the district as the agency responsible for their trash collection.

Survey results also show that 62.4% of voters believe that the district should remain an independent agency. Of those who agreed, 39.9% said that the service is working well as it is, 34.1% expressed worry over possible corruption and bureaucracy if the agency became government controlled and 7.6% said they did not want rates to increase.

Most residents pay less than $20 a month for service, according to the report.

"Being smaller, the district can be more responsive and more focused than larger government bodies," district board of directors President Bob Ooten wrote in an email. "We only focus on trash collection for residents and sewering the community. Being smaller we can be more innovative and provide the many programs more cost effectively than a larger government entity that has many focuses."

While the survey points toward residents' satisfaction, it also concluded that a vast majority of residents have never visited (88.8%) and while the majority are aware of the district programs, many have also never used the services.

For the junk mail reduction program, 70.8% said they were aware of the program, but only 15.2% said they had used it. Similarly, 62.5% said they were aware of the lockable trash container program, but only 26.6% said they used the program.

Results have a margin of error of +/- 3.1% and a 95% level of confidence, according to the report.

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