Overall, the city of Bexley is doing a good job of delivering city services and keeping residents informed of important developments -- but there's always room for improvement, according to a survey completed by Capital University.

The university's Public Relations Research class mailed surveys to 800 randomly selected households and received 209 completed surveys (a 26 percent response rate), professor Steve Bruning reported at the April 25 Bexley City Council meeting.

Bruning and students Sarah Fryman and Cedric Gegel said the survey tracks the city's progress over the past five years.

"The city of Bexley has improved in nearly all areas compared to 2012," when Capital last completed the survey, Bruning said.

The survey asked respondents to rate the city on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score, in areas such as the effectiveness of the police and recreation departments, code enforcement, communication and responsiveness to residents.

Both the police and recreation departments received improved scores over 2012. In the 2017 survey, the statement "Bexley has an effective police department" received a mean score of 4.65, compared to 4.57 in 2012. The effectiveness of the Recreation and a Parks Department received a mean score of 4.42, compared to 4.14 in 2012.

In code enforcement, the statement "city government in Bexley effectively enforces building codes" received a mean score of 3.85, compared with 3.65 in 2012.

City council member Troy Markham pointed out that "this question does not distinguish between the people who are upset because we are too aggressive or that we don't enforce it enough."

Bruning said respondents' comments indicate "most of them want stricter enforcement."

The statement "city government in Bexley is transparent" received a mean score of 3.92 in this year's survey, compared with 3.43 in 2012. The survey results indicate the city should continue to evaluate how to best communicate with residents, Bruning said.

"One of the things that the city will have to do is add in new forms of social media contact as a new demographic comes into the city of Bexley," he said.

Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said the city also is exploring more traditional forms of communication.

"We started talking about doing an annual report and some of the things we can do more on paper," Kessler said.

The Bexley Community Survey provides an overview of where the city is doing well and areas for improvement, Kessler added.

"It's really helpful for us because we see that benchmark, we see where we're going, where we're headed," Kessler said.

City Council President Tim Madison said he also finds the survey results useful and charged city intern Kyle Miller, who is also a Capital student, with researching the results of surveys conducted in neighboring communities to see where Bexley ranks in comparison.

The community survey "is probably the biggest way that we know how we're doing," Madison said.

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