Approximately 73% of survey respondents said that parks, trails and green space are important to them and should continue to be maintained by the city of Rochester Hills.

Approximately 73% of survey respondents said that parks, trails and green space are important to them and should continue to be maintained by the city of Rochester Hills.

Photo provided by the city of Rochester Hills

Rochester Hills outperforms Disney Parks in service satisfaction, according to survey results

Traffic congestion, development, road maintenance top list of concerns

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 9, 2023


ROCHESTER HILLS — The city’s 2023 community survey is in, and a point of pride for city officials is that Rochester Hills has a higher service satisfaction than Disney Parks & Resorts, according to data from Probolsky Research.

Approximately 400 Rochester Hills voters responded via phone or online to an April community survey to rate the quality of life, and their satisfaction with community amenities and local government.

Overall, voters are very satisfied living in Rochester Hills, according to Alyce Basil, a senior research analyst for Probolsky Research. Approximately 94% of survey respondents said they were satisfied with the level of service provided by the city, outperforming the service satisfaction of many top businesses. For example, Basil said Disney Parks — which Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett has often stated he draws inspiration from — has a service satisfaction rate of 89%, while Nordstrom, Costco and Apple all received an 87% rating, according to data from Newsweek and a Statista’s Best Customer Service report.

“You think about the traditional reputation of local government, and it is not above Disney Parks; it is not, traditionally, above Amazon or some of these other places that thrive on good customer service; so, as an organization, we are thrilled about this,” Barnett said.

“Costco, Amazon, Apple and Disney Parks … Disney Parks have a higher level of satisfaction than any other part of Disney, so the fact that we are able to not just compete, but exceed the customer service level of these businesses really blows me away,” added City Council President Ryan Deel.

Another top mark for the city was in quality of life, which 94% of survey respondents rated as “good.”

“We conduct a lot of these surveys across the nation, and we just do not see numbers like this,” Basil said. “We were really taken aback and thought, oh, maybe we should all move to Michigan.”

The main reasons people enjoy living in the city, according to the data, is because they feel it is a safe community with low crime; its location and convenience; and its small-town feel. People are also quite satisfied with the maintenance of public parks, trails and open spaces; and clean and reliable drinking water, Basil noted.

Public safety is well respected, and residents feel safe in their homes, neighborhoods and the community as a whole, according to survey results. Approximately 98% of respondents cited they feel safe in their homes, and 97% noted they feel safe living and doing business in Rochester Hills.

“This is an astronomical number — especially when you look and see you’re pretty much double what it is in the entire state of Michigan — when you ask people, how safe do you feel? It’s above the 50% national average and 49% statewide,” Basil said. “You are never going to get a full 100% on any polling, pretty much ever, so to get 98% and 97% is astronomical. That’s definitely something to be proud of.”

Approximately 93% of people said they were satisfied with the services provided by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, up from 84% in the 2019 survey. Nationally, Basil said, there is a 69% average of trust in local police.

“This is not a statistic to be taken lightly. We know that the relations between local communities and police service, especially in the last few years, has been very tumultuous, so to not only maintain your high satisfaction levels, but to grow in those over this time period, suggests a very strong and trusting relationship between your police services and your residents and voters,” she added.

As for fire, rescue and emergency medical services, 84% of respondents said they are satisfied with the city’s services, up from 60% in 2019.

When asked about interactions they’ve had with city employees, 93% of respondents said city staff acted in “a professional manner.”

The city’s investment in parks, trails and green space continues to be well received by voters, with 93% of respondents indicating they are satisfied with how those resources are managed and maintained. Approximately 73% say that parks, trails and green spaces are important to them and should continue to be maintained by the city.

The top challenges facing the city, according to the data, include traffic congestion, pace of development and road maintenance.

The management of traffic and congestion is perceived to be the city’s top area for improvement, with 54% saying that traffic congestion is the most serious challenge facing Rochester Hills.

“That’s definitely something that residents are hoping to get addressed,” Basil explained, adding that “78% see the benefits of adding additional roundabouts in the city, so if that is something that is being looked at as a potential option for mitigating some of that congestion, your residents seem to be open to it. They are comfortable driving on them and they see the benefit of them, so that could be an opportunity.”

However, 51% said they are “satisfied” with the traffic flow in Rochester Hills, and 57% say they spend less than 10 minutes in traffic.

In any community, there are going to be problems, Barnett said.

“There has to be some problem. Here it’s not crime. It’s not homelessness. It’s not vacant properties. It’s not blight. It’s what we kind of know. It’s traffic. Even when you dive into traffic, 50% of people think there is a traffic problem; 50% of people think there isn’t,” he said. “There are a lot of communities that would love to have 10 minutes of traffic be their struggle. That doesn’t mean we can’t improve it, we shouldn’t be focused on it, and we shouldn’t be looking at innovation and technology to try to lower that.”

Even in many areas that residents felt the city had room to improve — including the condition of roads — most said they were satisfied. Approximately 69% of residents rated the conditions of neighborhood streets as “good,” while 61% rated the condition of major roads in the city as “good.” Approximately 82% said they were satisfied with the routine maintenance on neighborhood streets, up from 58% in 2019, and around 85% of respondents said they were satisfied with snow and ice removal on neighborhood streets, up from 65% in 2019.

“Whatever the city has been doing in the last four years, your residents are pretty happy with it,” Basil said. “What that suggests to us is they are taking notice that you are taking notice.”

This year’s survey results were compared to the responses from the 2019 community survey to see how the city is doing, which officials said will be helpful in identifying priorities for community planning and resource allocation. Moving forward, Barnett said, the city plans to take the suggestions of where it can potentially improve and look at the city’s budget process, which he said is underway.

For more information, visit or call the city at (248) 656-4600.