Decreasing Trust (34%) That the County Will “Do the Right Thing”
A community survey was taken in April and May of this year to obtain an assessment of how Prince William County residents feel about the services they receive from the County and its quality of life.
The survey of 1,601 county residents has a margin of error of +/- 2.4%. The results can be found here.
Significant changes for the better since the last survey in 2018 included improvements in “County employees have been courteous and helpful” and a decrease in the percentage of residents who believe that “new development has reflected well on the county.”
Overall, 56% of respondents rated the quality of life in Prince William County as “high.” This is largely unchanged since 2018, with 55% of White residents, 65% of Hispanic residents, and 61% of Asian and Black residents responding affirmatively.
More than 2/3 of respondents gave top marks to the following agencies and services:
Fire – Fire & EMS responders are professional and provide quality service.
Police – Feel safe in your neighborhood; receive prompt response; positive attitude and behavior; feel safe in commercial areas; helpful and courteous to all; and performance meets community’s needs.
Also receiving top marks by 2/3 or more of respondents were residents views of their voting experience in Prince William County, library services, and courteous and helpful nature of Prince William County employees.
Areas and services which received less than 40% high marks included:
Development – ability to voice your opinion while new development is in its early stages; knowing how to get involved in the planning development process; ability to know what developments are under consideration.
Also receiving low marks were services for those “disadvantaged” or living with mental illness and addictions; trust in the county to do the right thing; and a transportation network which supports the county’s growth.
Additionally, only 48% said they received a fair value in services and facilities for their tax dollars.
Residents with the lowest annual incomes were most likely to feel satisfied with the value of services received and residents with the lowest educational attainment levels were most inclined to trust the County to do the right thing.
Those with the highest annual incomes were least likely to feel they’re getting the best return for their tax dollars.
In terms of geography, those in the “Hoadly District” which contains parts of Coles and Occoquan were the least satisfied with the county’s performance. Supervisor Vega noted this was likely in part due to the county’s insistence to continue piling on more traffic through approved developments in the area.
Nearly all of the recommendations on how to best improve the quality of life in the county revolved around development, traffic, and transportation issues with 9% citing “Improved Roads”; 8% saying “Stop Development”; and 7% saying “Improve Traffic Flow and public transportation.” Improving the educational system, lower taxes, better communication between leaders and residents, listening to people, safety, and more green space rounded out the top ten.
The survey summarized that in order to make the county a better place to live one of the key metrics would be to increase the percentage of residents who trust the county to do the right thing. Resident discontent with the direction of their elected leaders decisions has been prevalent at Board meetings and in communications since early 2020. The survey notes that “The County will do well to place this metric under a microscope in an attempt to build the trust levels up, especially Hoadly and
Battlefield, as well as among new arrivals (0-5 years in the County) and seasoned residents
(16+ years), the well educated and high earners and White residents.”
– Coles District Staff