The "Normative Comparison" section looks at how residents of Sarasota answered questions when compared to similar sized cities across the nation. This comparison takes into account questions that tend to be rated high (or low) across the country. For example, if every city rated their library system at 90% positive then each city would be average (50th percentile) compared to other cities. However if there were 100 respondents and 25 rated their library system as poor or lower, 50 as average and 25 as good or better, then if your city's library was ranked good or better, you would be in the top 25%, that is, higher than 75% of the comparable cities.
In the Normative Comparisons for Sarasota, the Quality of Life Ratings show that Sarasota rates itself higher than 75% of comparable cities in the following categories:
- Sarasota as a place to retire
- Overall appearance of Sarasota
- Opportunities to attend cultural activities
- Recreational opportunities
- Public information services
- Public library services
Conversely, Sarasota rates itself lower than 25% of comparable cities in the following categories:
- Land use, planning and zoning
- Satisfaction with overall direction the city is taking
- Sarasota listens to its citizens
- Traffic signal timing
- Amount of public parking
- Storm water drainage
- Drinking water
- Sewer services
- Accessibility of parks
- Appearance/maintenance of parks
- Services to low income people
Last years survey showed similar results.
In the 2005 survey, 69% of the respondents indicated that too much growth was a problem (either a moderate or major problem), this year 70% indicates it is a problem.
Traffic congestion was rated last year as a problem by 80%, this year by 78%.
Access to affordable housing was rated as a problem by 88%, this year 85% rated it as a problem.
Also, in 2005 59% of the respondents indicated that taxes were a problem. This year that rose to 70%.
When comparing ourselves to cities of similar size we rank in the:
- 32nd percentile when looking at the value we recieve for our taxes,
- in the 23rd percentile when looking at "does Sarasota listen to its citizens"
- in the 6th percentile when looking at whether the citizens are pleased with the direction of the city.
Each of these rankings is lower than last year.
We have 2 years of data indicating where the citizens believe we need improvement as well as areas where we excel. We need our city officials to focus on those areas that need improvement. We expect improvement in those areas.