Based on the city's inaugural business survey, 92 percent of business owners rated their relationship with the city as "good or very good."
"Looking at our community, this business survey is pretty good," Mayor Sam Seever said. "That is huge."
The city partnered with the Auburn Technical Assistance Center & Percy Associates, Inc. to conduct the survey, which was designed to gain information from business owners that the city could use to improve its services and overall impact in the business community. A total of 1,433 businesses were solicited for responses for the web-based survey. Approximately 152 were returned.
As part of the survey, businesses were asked to respond to 19 questions that ranked various aspects of a business owner’s interaction with the city, as well as their overall satisfaction in a variety of categories. Business owners were also asked about the overall quality of service in the city, how they would rate their interactions with the city's staff, customer service, and their satisfaction with the codes and regulations that affect businesses in Destin.
Looking at the results, 86 percent of those that responded said the overall quality of city services met or exceeded their expectations. As for customer service, 88 percent rated the city's service as either good or very good. Seventy-eight percent of respondents reported that the city does a good or very good job of communicating with them.
The Auburn Technical Assistance Center presented city leaders with an overview of the survey's "conclusions," which touched on a variety of topics ranging from improving access to businesses, increasing business visibility, improving the level of customer service and improving city communications with business owners and managers.
"Traffic and road conditions are a well-known area problem, and businesses rated these items much lower than best-in-class," the conclusion reads. "These areas are also already being addressed in many ways."
Many respondents indicated that the city's sign regulations "were too strong" and that there are "still some opportunities to improve processes and customer service."
Looking at the survey results, Seevers said there is always room for improvement.
"We are going to take it very seriously and look at some of these issues," she said. "We already know about the traffic issues and we are doing what we can as a city."
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
The survey allowed business owners in Destin to write in comments on a variety of questions. Here are some of the suggestions and comments they offered city leaders.
Easier way to get a building permit with staff that care. You guys have bad attitudes in there.
Helping locally owned more than nationally owned chains. The tourist will always come here, yet those who pay taxes and support local businesses are second place when changes are considered.
Listening to citizens more.
Signage code restricts my business; relax the sign laws to permit more off premises signs and billboards.
Removal of signage would improve overall appearances. Take down all unnecessary signs (we are 100 percent leased); too many signs create cluttered roadways.
Welcome people instead of saying no you can't do that.
Helping get the homeless off the streets without subsidizing them.
The words Destin City Hall and businesses are so estranged that they shouldn't be in the same sentence.
I have dealt with Susan Destin on numerous occasions and she is a true asset for the city of Destin.
I have not had a lot of contact with people at the city of Destin, however the few I have had contact with have been very helpful with bringing my business to Destin.
The overall quality and performance from city staff members is excellent.
You are doing the best you can with what you have.