Survey Says: ‘People Just Have Good Feelings’ About Woodbury

The Woodbury City Council heard the results of its biannual survey of residents on Wednesday.

You’ve probably figured it out by now: Woodbury is a pretty decent place to live.

The Woodbury City Council on Wednesday got the results from its biannual community survey, which showed that for the most part residents are pleased with the direction of the city.

Decision Resources has for several years, and again polled 400 households about everything from city services to more specific items like an outdoor water park (and what type of tax increase people would support to fund the project).

“Most folks are pretty pleased with what’s going on,” said Bill Morris, president of Decision Resources. He reported that most people have a “high reservoir of goodwill toward decision-makers.”

“People just have good feelings about the city,” Morris said.

Morris outlined the highlights and broader themes of the results, many of which place Woodbury among the top cities in the metro area. He said the firm has worked with nearly every comparable city on similar surveys in recent years.

(Check out the pdf with this story to see detailed survey findings of the survey.)

Among the findings:

  • The number of people concerned with growth in the city has decreased, while those concerned with the economy has increased.
  • Citizens have a strong sense of community. “People respond as if they were small-town residents instead of suburbanites,” Morris said.
  • Respondents had high marks for the city’s police, fire, EMS and sewer services. “The amount of negative is miniscule,” Morris said.
  • Parks and trails also rated well, though there were some “idiosyncratic” concerns with recreation, mostly related to what respondents said were bad coaches or referees, according to Morris. There was also an uptick in those who had a negative perception of the , which he attributed to recent plans to update the facility.
  • As was the case in other suburbs, those who say the city does well with snow removal went down this year. Street sweeping, however, had an “amazingly high rating,” Morris said.
  • Those who said the city’s property taxes are too high dropped 15 points from two years ago, which Morris said reflects a trend across the metro of “tax hostility” abating.
  • City staff and council members scored well compared to their metro counterparts, Morris said.
  • Residents’ feelings about improved from two years ago.
  • Many respondents said city streets could use some work, though Councilwoman Julie Ohs suggested that the timing of the survey—conducted over February and March when potholes are more prevalent—could have something to do with that. Morris agreed.
  • Woodbury is bucking the trend by drawing more people from Minneapolis. People tend to move within cities on their side of the Mississippi River, Morris said. Quipped Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, “I guess the secret’s out.”
  • On an outdoor water park, 47 percent of people said they would not support any tax increase to pay for such a facility. “The support just isn’t there,” Morris said.

One item that surprised council members was the average commute for those who don’t live in the city: just under 17 minutes. The council didn’t take much time discussing the findings, but in looking at specific questions found that public transportation overall is something the city should examine further.

Morris said that there 18 percent of the population—when extrapolating the survey numbers—is simply “anti-tax” and will oppose almost anything that requires additional taxes.


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