Kingsport residents should stay tuned for an upcoming survey to gauge their perceptions of the city and how its leaders are doing. Most residents seem to have opinions of what’s right and what’s wrong with Kingsport, and the city wants to hear them.
The upcoming community survey is designed to provide a baseline of how the Kingsport government is serving residents as well as to make comparisons with peer communities.
The city contracted with Polco/National Research Center Inc., an impartial third-party firm that provides municipal governments with a low-cost, high-quality method to conduct community research. The survey centers on community livability and includes questions about the quality of life in the community, local policies, demographics, rating of local government services, the emergency services departments, and questions about how residents are getting city information.
“We’re excited to engage with our residents and hear their feedback on the services the city provides and any additional wants or needs we could work on for our community,” said Jessica Harmon, assistant to the city manager. “From this survey, we’ll have the ability to see where Kingsport stacks up by benchmarking ourselves against over 600 communities across the country that have administered the National Community Survey.”
The survey will provide valuable information about what residents believe should be the priorities of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Sharing the results with the community will help keep residents and city government in tune.
A random and scientific sample of 2,700 households will receive invitations to participate in the mail, and their confidential responses will be weighted and analyzed. Kingsport strongly encourages all households that receive the survey to respond, since the more responses received, the more accurate the results will be.
As well, the city will also provide an online survey to which all residents will have the option to respond. The online survey will be posted on the city website and promoted across social media channels beginning about six weeks from now.
Last February, the BMA met with city staff to go over recommendations to update and modernize the city’s current strategic plan. “That led to the conversation about ‘How do we make, how do we know and how do we ensure that our strategic plan and thus our capital and operating budgets are in alignment with what the citizens of Kingsport are looking for us to do?’ And so that kind of began a long conversation about conducting a citizen survey. It’s really been quite some time since the last one was done — probably well over a decade if not two or three decades,” said City Manager Chris McCart.
New residents of Kingsport — and there are a lot of them — will have different perceptions of the community. The Kingsport Chamber reports that last month 72 families from 27 states moved to Kingsport. They are among nearly 2,000 families that moved to the city from 49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico during the pandemic from March of last year to the present.
The city is interested in what about Kingsport is most appealing to them and what they feel they’d like to see more of. Incorporating those observations into the city’s strategic plan will help grow the city, and that means a larger tax base to share the cost of city services.
There will be announcements when the survey is mailed and made available online. Please respond to help make our city better.