Survey reveals high satisfaction, great future in Arlington
With the challenges that cities face in providing support for strong local economies, Arlington is enjoying considerable success, as revealed by a recently released survey conducted by the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
The six-month-long project gathered responses from 137 companies that shared their opinions about business conditions and services in the city by rating their experiences across multiple areas that impact their operations.
Then 30 on-site, hourlong interviews with business owners were conducted using methodology developed by the Business Retention and Expansion Institute at Southern Mississippi University.
With a mission of determining what was working well and areas where improvements were needed, the Chamber’s findings were then shared with its members, the city’s elected leadership and senior management officials.
The ultimate goal was to further empower the work of economic development and job creation by supporting the city’s priorities of being business-friendly in the highly competitive field of attracting large and small businesses that ultimately lead to a higher quality of life for the city’s residents.
The report finds a wide range of entrepreneurs and corporations to be very satisfied with Arlington as a community in which to do business. Positive attitudes abound toward the city government’s role in creating an environment in which businesses can be successful.
Those findings include utility and transportation infrastructure, fire protection, law enforcement, effective zoning, code enforcement, parks and recreation, low cost of living, housing stock availability, and education providers at all levels.
The cost of leasing or purchasing space to operate; location opportunities; cost and availability of labor; the overall cost of doing business; and workforce development were overwhelmingly rated as being good to excellent.
Law enforcement and fire protection garnered the highest ratings of satisfaction with both scoring in the 90th percentile among the good to excellent responses.
More than 60 percent of respondents said code enforcement services were good to excellent and even traffic flow, a longstanding issue in Arlington, garnered a 57 percent majority in those two categories.
Road maintenance did get more than 50 percent approval as good to excellent, but was the secondlowest in ratings ( permitting came in at 44 percent) of all city services. What is interesting about that response is that current road work continues to set new records in expenditures across the city every year.
A conclusion could be drawn that no matter how much money is poured into keeping roads in good condition, there will always be more that needs to be done.
On the other hand, the category of highway infrastructure won the approval of 73 percent of those surveyed while other transportation services such as air and truck shipping and package delivery all scored in the 90th percentile range.
Electric and gas service providers got high marks with good-to-excellent scores of 90 and 88 percent. The principal complaints about electricity was, no surprise here – power outages.
Arlington city government was rated good to excellent by 76 percent of the respondents and poor by fewer than 10 percent.
An interesting side note here may be to wonder, with such a strong approval of the work of the city’s elected representatives, why did a majority of voters in last month’s elections decide the structure of local government should be radically changed?
Falling far short of city government ratings, Texas state government was seen positively by 58 percent with only 13 percent putting it in the excellent category.
In the always-important question about taxation, 74 percent found the sales tax rate good or excellent and a majority even put property taxes in those two categories.
So, what’s to be concluded by these results? While interpretations may vary, I think it means Arlington’s traditional can-do spirit remains strong, and its best years still lie ahead.
RESIDENTS GIVE THEIR HOME HIGH MARKS FOR LIVABILITY AND CITY SERVICES, EVEN FOR ROADS, HIGHWAYS AND TRAFFIC.