City reviews results of citizen survey at town hall meeting

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – O’Fallon mayor Herb Roach and City Administrator Walter Denton presented results from the 2018 National Citizen Survey and provided economic development updates at last week’s quarterly Town Hall meeting. 

The city of O’Fallon has conducted a citizen survey six times since 2005. In June, a mail survey was sent to 1,500 randomly selected residents. The city received 417 responses, with the survey company indicating a five percent margin of error. 

The standard survey template is used by more than 500 jurisdictions nationwide, but the city also had the ability to include O’Fallon-specific questions. Staff was able to analyze the responses in comparisons to other cities, as well as O’Fallon’s previous survey results. Survey results are available on the city’s website in the Administration department’s page. 

Overall, residents feel O’Fallon is a good place to live and raise children, and they enjoy a high quality of life here. Citizens support the overall direction of O’Fallon, and over 80 percent felt they receive good or excellent quality of services from the city government. 

Safety continues to be a top priority for residents. Police, fire and EMS services all received over 90 percent favorable ratings, with the overall feeling of safety in O’Fallon at 95 percent. The city parks also received over 90 percent favorable ratings, with 87 percent of responders having visited a neighborhood or city park.  

The city saw increases from previous surveys in the favorable responses regarding stormwater, healthcare, health services and economic development. Denton attributes increases in those areas to the city’s ongoing projects towards stormwater remediation in the older parts of town, construction of St. Elizabeth’s hospital and visible economic growth. 

One section of questions the city included on the survey were in regards to school consolidation. Last year, the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce formed a committee to oversee a consolidation feasibility study. While a feasibility has not been completed yet, the city felt like there was enough public interest in the topic to include it in the survey. They also felt the results could be beneficial to the chamber’s efforts. 

The options listed in the study were: no school consolidation, consolidation of O’Fallon’s K-8 schools only, consolidation of all K-8 schools in O’Fallon and Shiloh, consolidation of only O’Fallon’s school districts, and total consolidation (District 90, Central 104, Shiloh 85 and OTHS). Survey participants were asked to rate each option individually; strongly oppose, somewhat oppose, support somewhat and strongly support. Forty-six percent of responders were not in favor of any consolidation, and 65 percent were in favor of total consolidation. 

The most favorable consolidation option was the consolidation of O’Fallon’s K-8 schools only, this would be O’Fallon District 90 and Central 104. Total consolidation received the most support from responders age 55+ at 74 percent, but no consolidation received the most support from responders ages 18-34 at 64 percent.