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Cary Continues to Earn High Marks in Biennial Citizen Survey

Of 27 service dimensions, 8 grades improve, no grades decline, and 19 remain unchanged

Post Date:03/09/2012

Cary, NC – The Town of Cary has aced its level of service test according to the 2012 Biennial Citizen Satisfaction Survey, rating the Town highest overall since first administering the survey in 1998. The survey gave a group of Cary residents the opportunity to rate their government and community on topics like safety, appearance, Town employees’ customer service, quality of life, solid waste/recycling, taxes and much more. The Town uses this scientific poll to help provide guidance on where it should make changes to enhance Cary citizens’ quality of life.

Some of this year’s outstanding results (letter grade equivalent of “A”) included:

  • Courteous Town staff
  • Safety within neighborhoods and in public places
  • Cleanliness and appearance of Public Areas
  • Success at keeping Cary clean and forever green
  • Courteous, fair and competent Police and Fire departments
  • Overall quality of parks, recreation and cultural resources courses, facilities and instructors

“These are outstanding results, especially during these tough economic times where we have less revenue and fewer staff to serve our citizens,” said Town Manager Ben Shivar.  “We very much appreciate our citizens’ feedback and support, which we will use over the next two years to help keep Cary one of the best places in America.”

As with previous surveys, Biennial 2012 had three parts: questions regularly asked in each survey to give the Town an opportunity to see trends in its performance; questions that change in each survey to give the Town information on current or emerging issues; and demographic questions like age, sex, race, and education that help ensure that the sample of respondents are a scientifically representative group of the total population of Cary.

The 2012 survey also included questions on broad, Town Council focus areas established during the 2008 annual Council-Staff retreat; the results that follow will help the Council track citizen satisfaction with its progress in core areas.

Environmental Protection 91.4% 88.6%
Keeping Cary the best place to live, work and raise a family 89.8% 93.1%
Downtown Revitalization 71.4% 71.3%
Transportation 72.1% 80.8%
Planning and Development 75.8% 75.6%
Parks & Recreation 88.8% 91.2%

The 2012 survey also revealed that:

  • Almost all citizens (94.8%) believe that the quality of life in Cary has remained the same or improved over the past two years
  • A majority (71.4%) of residents feels that Cary’s tax rate is “about right”
  • The biggest concerns of Cary citizens are growth, road improvements, schools and safety
  • Over half (54.5%) own or plan to purchase a smart phone in the next year
  • More than two-thirds (67.9%) have college degrees, with 9% of those having a Ph.D, JD, or MD

A total of 402 Cary households were randomly selected for the survey and interviewed by telephone (listed, unlisted and cell numbers) from January 2-20, 2012. Just like Gallop, Nielsen, and other international pollsters, consultants for the Town utilized scientifically developed sampling techniques and statistical analysis that allow the survey results to be generalized over the entire population even though not everyone in Cary is called. The margin of error for the 2012 survey was +/- 5 percent.

As a follow-up to the survey, the Town plans to conduct several focus groups later this spring. These focus groups will provide an opportunity for the Town and selected citizens to discuss specific issues in greater detail.

Based on a national Request for Proposals process, Cary contracted with BKL Research of Salem, VA to conduct the study (survey and focus groups) at a cost of $31,600. Representatives from BKL made a formal presentation of the findings at the March 7 regular Cary Town Council meeting which can be viewed by searching “Cary TV” at

Find the full survey report in the Surveys and Research section of the Town’s website,


Susan Moran, Public Information Director, (919) 380-4240
Ben Shivar, Town Manager,  (919) 469-4002
Deanna Boone, Deputy Public Information Officer, (919) 462-3908

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