Pasco County residents like to express themselves at the polls, but aren’t all that interested in attending public meetings.
When they need to go to work, chances are they’ll hop in their car and drive themselves there.
And, when it comes to ranking efforts to create jobs and grow the economy — they see plenty of room for improvement.
These are just a few of the findings from the National Citizen Survey, which offers a glimpse of how Pasco residents view the quality of life in the county and provides a basic report card on government services.
The survey is a collaborative effort between the National Research Center Inc. and the International City/County Management Association.
The survey was developed by the National Research Center to provide a statistically valid survey of resident opinions about the services provided by local government.
The survey was distributed to 1,200 randomly selected addresses, and of those, 243 were returned for a return rate of 23 percent. The survey has a plus or minus 6 percent margin of error.
According to the survey, 91 percent of those responding said they are registered to vote and 81 percent said they made it to the polls on Election Day.
Far fewer seemed interested in making their opinions known at public meetings. Just 21 percent of the survey takers said they attended a meeting of local elected officials or other local public meeting in the last year.
When it comes to getting around, 76 percent reported that they drive alone in their car to get the work, and just 7 percent said they’d been on a bus in the county during the past year. Fewer than a third gave good or excellent marks to ease of biking or walking around the county.
Overall, 68 percent of those surveyed gave Pasco County a good or excellent mark for its quality of life. But just 34 percent gave good or excellent marks to economic development, and a whopping 85 percent said job growth is too slow.
Opportunities to attend cultural events also scored poorly, with just 30 percent giving good or excellent marks in that category.
On a brighter note, however, 79 percent gave excellent or good marks for the county’s public library services.
The survey rated a number of county services, which were compared to a benchmark database. Of the 40 services for which comparison was available, none exceeded the benchmark, 15 were similar and 25 were ranked below.
Despite that outcome, though, 81 percent of those surveyed said they would be somewhat or very likely to recommend living in Pasco County, and 83 percent said they planned to remain in Pasco for the next five years.
The county has made gains in some areas.
The availability of affordable health care, for instance, was rated as good or excellent by 60 percent of the survey takers, compared to 46 percent last year and 44 percent in 2009.
Health services, overall, also scored a higher mark — with good or excellent ratings by 64 percent, compared to 57 percent last year and 49 percent in 2009.
Parks and recreation also picked up a few points, with 50 percent of those surveyed rating recreational opportunities as good or excellent, compared to 45 percent last year.
On the public safety front, 93 percent of the respondents reported feeling safe or somewhat safe in their homes during the day.
Five percent of those surveyed said they or someone in their household had been a victim of crime — compared to 14 percent the previous year.
However, just 72 percent said they reported the crime to police, compared with 84 percent reporting it the year before.
The Pasco County Commission is expected to hear a report on the survey when they meet Sept. 4. The item had been on the commission’s Aug. 27 agenda, but was delayed because of long discussions on other issues.