City of Austin Performance Report 2015-16

Citizen Satisfaction with the Appearance of Park Grounds

Measure Description
This measure tracks citizen satisfaction with the appearance of park grounds in Austin based on favorable responses received by citizens from the annual City of Austin Community Survey. The survey is prepared and conducted by an external third-party vendor to the City of Austin. A statistically-valid sample of randomly selected addresses are used as a representative sample of the general population of the city. The representative sample includes roughly 200 respondents from each council district. The information provides an assessment of citizens’ perception about the appearance and upkeep of parks grounds by the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD). Clean and attractive parks reduce crime and vandalism, promote physical activity, increase home values in neighborhoods, and contribute to a positive quality of life for Austin citizens. The citizens of Austin use and depend on the park system and have high expectations of department staff to provide a quality experience in parks.
Calculation Method
This measure is the sum of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses divided by the total number of respondents who report an opinion. The measure excludes those who left the question blank or responded “don’t know.”
FY 2015-16 Results
In FY 2015-16, 72.6% of respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the appearance of park grounds in the City of Austin, slightly above the goal of 70% and above the benchmark city average of 64%.
Assessment of Results
The appearance of the park grounds in Austin is a direct reflection of the community and the values Austin citizens have for parks. The Grounds Maintenance Division maintains a consistent and high level of citizen satisfaction with the appearance of parks. In FY 2015-16, there was a gradual increase in satisfaction from the previous two fiscal years. Furthermore, the survey results continue to rank above the benchmark city average for similarly-sized jurisdictions.
There is a direct correlation with the quality of the appearance of park grounds and the level of park maintenance staffing.  With increased staffing, PARD staff are better able to addresses maintenance needs quickly and efficiently and in turn maintain a high quality of park ground appearances. PARD continues to maintain a high level of citizen satisfaction with the appearance of park grounds while increasing parkland inventory. However, maintaining that balance will be a challenge as the department seeks to add new parkland inventory in light of population growth experienced by the community.
Next Steps
Staff continues take steps to improve scheduling and leverage resources, including volunteer and grant opportunities. Efforts to evolve and improve the efficiency of its asset management program are also underway. This will include its work order system. PARD continues to document deferred work orders, safety concerns in parks, and deficiencies in equipment to improve response time and increase satisfaction.
Contact Information
For more information contact Charles Vaclavik, Grounds Maintenance Division Manager, (512) 974-9471.