San Marcos residents rate city services in survey

San Marcos residents gave high marks for city services but said they are dissatisfied with job opportunities and the city's planning for growth, according to results of a community survey presented to City Council on June 4.

Nearly three in four San Marcos residents said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of services provided by the city government, a significantly higher ratio than other cities in the Southwest, said Chris Tatham, vice president of the ETC Institute, which conducted the survey of more than 400 San Marcos residents this spring.

"Residents generally have a very positive perception about the city itself," Tatham said. "When people think of the city of San Marcos, they tend to respond favorably."

Forty-four percent of survey respondents said they are dissatisfied with the availability of job opportunities, and 48 percent said they are dissatisfied with how well the city is planning for growth.

"I think there are a lot of economic issues here that other communities aren't having to deal with as much as you are," Tatham told council members. "This is an important issue that the city as a whole—not just city government—has to tackle."

ETC also conducted a San Marcos community survey in 2011. In the past two years, satisfaction most notably increased in areas of library service, customer service and solid waste service.

Tatham said residents' satisfaction most notably decreased in areas of street maintenance, transportation planning, management of stormwater runoff and flood prevention, and code enforcement. Tatham added that residents' satisfaction should rebound once numerous road improvement projects have concluded throughout the city.

"You have to suffer a little bit in order to get the benefits when those improvements are done," he said.

City Manager Jim Nuse said he was pleased with the findings about the city's level of service.

"Working with an organization that provides what they call [a] standard-setting level of service in a government organization, that's something I'm really proud to be a part of," he said.

Based in Olathe, Kan., the ETC Institute conducts surveys for cities throughout the nation, including Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.