CLEARWATER, Fla. (April 11, 2017) HCP recently completed Pinellas County’s 2017 Citizen Survey.  This was the seventh annual citizen study HCP has completed on behalf of the county. Results showcase that while there continue to be areas of desired improvement—most notably transportation—citizen expectations are increasingly being met as findings show trust and confidence of Pinellas County government far outpaces the national base of local government trust and confidence.

The findings stem from a telephonic random digit dial (RDD) survey conducted between December of 2016 and January of 2017. Respondents are asked to rate a series of quality of life metrics for how important they consider each to be and how satisfied they are with their experience in Pinellas County, on each metric. Over the years of study, the analysts have seen the gap between levels of importance and levels of satisfaction close.

HCP Senior Research Director Sarah Lindemuth said, “When you see the expectation gaps closing year after year, this is an indicator that citizen needs are increasingly being met. There are certainly external factors that can help to move the needle such as economic climate, jobs, personal changes; but to see it on a large scale as we have, coupled with overwhelming ratings of trust and confidence in local government, kudos must be given to those serving the citizens.”

Trust and confidence in local government was reported by 93 percent of citizens—up significantly from 78 percent in 2013. For comparison, the Gallup Poll records trust and confidence in respondents’ local governments across the nation as an aggregate 71 percent.

Last month, Lindemuth presented findings from the 2017 survey to the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

Trending revealed improvements in quality of life ratings; and higher levels of recommendation for living, working, raising children and retiring in Pinellas County; in addition to the expectation gaps closing and high-levels of trust and confidence.

“All of us who call Pinellas County home have a great love for our community,” said Commission Chair Janet Long. “We have worked hard and with all of our partners to address the common goals of our community. The fruits of this and of our workforce’s dedication to public service continue to show.”

Overall, the study has progressed since inception in 2011, to allow for broader scope and greater depth of questions. These developments have been positive for the usability of results, allowing for HCP to collaborate with Pinellas County leadership and with various departments to help represent and echo the citizen perspective.

For an infographic of the 2017 results, visit http://www.pinellascounty.org/budget/pdf/2017_Infographic_Citizen.pdf.