LONG BEACH — A recent survey is providing the city with insight on resident concerns.
Long Beach City Mayor Jerry Phillips conducted his first mayor’s survey in 2018. He presented the survey’s results at the Long Beach City Council Jan. 22 meeting.
The survey is the first of its kind for the city, said City Administrator David Glasson.
The survey included questions on how residents keep informed about city operations, residents’ perceptions of the city and Long Beach Police Department, residents’ concerns, and residents’ perceptions of local homelessness.
“I’m still in the discovery mode of asking questions about what we can change,” Phillips said. “I have some ideas for improvement.”
The city generally received positive ratings throughout the survey. Phillips said the positive ratings were what stood out to him when looking at survey results.
“The survey gave people a chance to say what they think the city should do,” Phillips said.
The survey was distributed with residents’ water bills for about a month to two months, Phillips said. Most questions on the survey received about 75 responses.
Connecting with the community
Phillips said the survey was a way for him to be transparent with residents.
“People come to the council and say ‘We weren’t informed,’” Phillips said. “I know I can’t reach everybody all the time but is there something else we can do? I wanted to see if there’s other ways to reach out to people.”
Survey results were shared with city department heads and LBPD Chief Flint Wright.
Most people said they receive information about Long Beach through the Chinook Observer, followed by “other” ways.
The 2018 survey is the building foundation for a future survey, Phillips said.
Between 110 and 130 families on the Peninsula are homeless. About 270 students in the Ocean Beach School District are homeless, according to the Pacific County Economic Development Council.
“Homelessness is such an issue statewide,” Phillips said. “We get reports about people at the beach. If you look at Long Beach in contrast of the rest of the Peninsula, we have a lower count but it’s hard to keep track.”
The city gets homelessness statistics through Project Community Connect, an annual service-providing event hosted by Peninsula Poverty Response. The city pays attention to if event attendees live in Long Beach and are homeless and/or Veterans. This helps the city know how it can serve residents, Phillips said.
Residents said they saw homeless individuals on streets and sidewalks, and in the dunes. Most respondents said they didn’t have experience with homeless individuals in Long Beach.
Phillips recently met with county commissioners and the city’s other mayors to discuss how the different groups can work together better and address common issues, such as homelessness.
“We asked how we can look outside the box, work better together and get things done,” Phillips said.
He will meet with the leaders again in spring.
Additional resident concerns
Issues of concern raised by survey participants included the need for low-income housing, homelessness, hiring more police officers, water and sewer rates, streets, roads and drainage, fireworks, property taxes, the local bus service, supporting non-tourism related businesses, and installing a dog park.
Phillips said the city is focusing on north-end beautification. Once the city has completed improving streets, sidewalks and installing light poles, the city will turn its focus to the south-end, he said.
Phillips said he has ideas on ways to improve city functions after looking at survey results but didn’t want to share his intended focuses before meeting with city department heads.