by: Max Royle ~ City of St. Augustine Beach

Earlier this year, the city’s Communications and Events Coordinator, Cindy Walker, developed the city’s first ever multi-page survey questionnaire.

In all, there were 33 questions or requests for responses, among them the following: Are you a city resident? Do you own or rent your home? If business establishments are important to you, what type(s) of establishments would you like to see grow in the city? What are the city’s top assets? Have you ever used the Sunshine Bus? What could be done to improve the safety of residents and visitors? When you visit the beach, how do you get there (walk, bike, drive, etc.)? What is your opinion of the city implementing a pay-to-park program consistent with the county’s and why do you feel this way? What solutions do you have to solve/alleviate the parking issues in the city? What could be done to improve garbage and recycling collection? How do you watch City Commission meetings? Why do you attend or not attend Commission meetings? And there were several questions related to communication, such as how did respondents receive emergency service announcements during Hurricane Irma, and how do respondents find out about city-run events, government meetings, changes to the garbage collection schedule, road closures, etc.?

The deadline for online responses has passed and the results are in: Several hundred persons, most of them self-identified city residents, answered the questions and many took time to write additional comments about their city government, its services and the issues they believe are important.

Persons who want to read the survey and the responses can do so by contacting Ms. Walker at the following email address: cwalker@cityofsab.org.

As an analysis of the responses will take several essays over several months, for this first essay about the responses I’ll just show some highlights.

To put the number of responses to the survey in perspective: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city as of July 1, 2018, had 7,026 residents. Fifteen percent, or 1,069, were children under the age of 18, leaving 5,957 potential adult responders. To the question of residency or owning property in the city, there were 785 responses.

To this survey request, please rate the quality of life in St. Augustine Beach, 645 persons responded. Of that number, 181 said the quality was far above average, 381 said above average, 72 that it was average., 10 below average, and just one that it was far below average.

To the request to rate the overall appearance of the city, there were 646 responses: 69 said the appearance was far above average, 357 above average, 191 average, 27 below average, and just two that the appearance was far below average.

At the City Commission’s meeting on Monday, July 1st, Ms. Walker will present a report about the survey. The Commission can provide direction as to the next steps to take concerning it. That meeting will start at 6 p.m.