Gallatin residents say they are overwhelmingly satisfied with the overall quality of life in the city, but believe growth is not being managed well, according to the results of a recent community-wide survey.
ETC Institute, a Kansas-based independent consultant, conducted the statistically valid survey on behalf of the city earlier this year to see how residents feel about a variety of services the city provides.
“There were some things that I was well pleased with and there were some things I was disappointed in,” Mayor Paige Brown said about the results, which were presented to city leaders last month. “I’m very excited that we have more direction on what some of the concerns are and I’m glad we got this done.”
According to the survey, 82 percent of residents surveyed said they are satisfied with the overall quality of life in Gallatin while 73 percent said they are satisfied with the city as a place to raise children.
The city also scored better than the national average for overall quality of services provided and overall quality of customer service received from employees. Overall resident satisfaction with the quality of fire services was at 92 percent while police services was at 85 percent.
“The city performed very well,” ETC Institute Assistant Director of Community Research Ryan Murray told city leaders about the results last month. “Gallatin rated significantly higher than the national average in over 70 percent of the areas that were assessed, which is just really impressive.”
The city received low marks related to growth with only 29 percent of residents saying they felt it was being managed well, according to the results. Only 39 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with overall traffic and congestion management by the city.
Gallatin also scored slightly below the national average in the areas of maintenance of its stormwater drainage system and accessibility of streets, sidewalks and buildings for people with disabilities.
“It’s no surprise that the biggest complaint was the growth,” Brown said. “As long as people are moving here, we’re going to grow and they’re going to keep moving here because Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and Gallatin are good places to live.
“We do have lots of good road projects planned and we’re looking forward to getting some of those in place which will help with some congestion and improve the traffic flow.”
An $36 million extension of Albert Gallatin Avenue from Dobbins Pike to S.R. 109 is on track to be completed late next year and is expected to help alleviate traffic congestion through downtown by acting as a sort of northern bypass for the city, according to officials involved with project.
Brown said she also hopes an intelligent traffic signal synchronization system will finally be in place next year to help with traffic flow throughout the city.
“One of my greatest disappointments is that we have not gotten (that project) installed sooner because I’m told it’s really going to make a difference,” she added. “I also think it’s important as we move forward to continue to try to preserve green space and land that can’t be developed, but that takes big investments and very generous donors.”
Conducting a citizen satisfaction survey was one of several priority actions included in a strategic plan that was approved by the Gallatin City Council in 2018. The management tool is meant to help city leaders focus resources, optimize operations and align officials towards a set of common goals.
City leaders plan to conduct the survey every two years and use the results to help determine priorities when planning for the future, according to Brown.
“The growth is going to slow,” Brown added. “We’re going to continue to be the community that we are. We’re going to be welcoming, we’re going to be caring and loving of our neighbors and we’re going to maintain our culture by being the people that we are.”
The complete 2020 City of Gallatin Community Survey findings report can be found online at www.gallatingetsit.com.