Even Richard Engstrom, the Burruss Institute director, expressed surprise that the approval levels were so high, though he expected Gwinnett would do well.
“The reason we weren’t surprised by the fact that the scores were good is that Gwinnett has a reputation for collecting a lot of high-quality data about the needs and opinions of their residents,” he said. “The fact that the ratings are so high seems to indicate that the county and the communities in Gwinnett, on average, do a good job of using those data.”
Of course, you wouldn’t expect Gwinnett to fare as poorly as Clayton, which in the KSU survey had the lowest satisfaction levels with government service. There, only 52.6 percent of respondents said the county was a good or very good place to live. But why so little discontent in Gwinnett?
Engstrom said respondents were asked to rate their services as they exist, which they seem to be quite pleased with. Had they been asked about the direction of government spending and costs of services, he said, resident responses may have taken a different tone.
“In short, residents might be frustrated about possibly losing something they value and appreciate as much as their parks, libraries and other services,” Engstrom said. Perhaps the possibility of losing or experiencing a decline in parks and libraries is a question better suited for next year.
Rick Badie, an Opinion columnist, is based in Gwinnett. Reach him at email@example.com or 770-263-3875.