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Survey: 98% Residents give Village government high marks, but traffic a sore spot

The term “Island Paradise” is getting some statistical validation with a new Village survey of Key Biscayne residents from the ETC Institute, where 98% of those polled think the island is a “good place to live.” 

The biggest negative? Traffic, traffic, traffic. 

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“Key Biscayne rated 24 points above the US average and 29 points above the Florida average on the overall quality of services,” said Jason Morado, director of community research at ETC

“That’s the third survey in a row where exactly 98% of respondents rated the Village as an excellent place to live,” he said. “Those results have been amazingly consistent,” referring to surveys in 2018 and 2020. 

Village services, for the purpose of the survey, included parks, zoning, communication with residents, police and fire rescue, and public works like tree and grass trimming, maintenance, and water conservation efforts. Of these, the fire department clocked the highest satisfaction rating at 94%.

The dubious honor of lowest satisfaction belongs to community traffic conditions (22% satisfied), quality of traffic enforcement (37% satisfied), and adequacy of street lighting (48% satisfied). That represents a marked difference from the last village survey, where traffic conditions only ranked as the 4th highest concern for the village. Morado partially credited this with people staying at home in 2020 as a result of COVID-19, corresponding to lower traffic on the island.

Residents also rated satisfaction with beach quality, up 31% from 2020, the biggest increase measured by the survey. Residents also said the quality of drinking water is up nine percent, and communication by village officials to residents is up seven percent. 

Residents gave the village a 61% satisfaction rating on value received for the tax rate, double the Florida average. Quality and access to public education is down 16%; an additional 14% when asked if the Key was a good place to educate children. Key parents have recently spoken up about myriad issues at the K-8 center.

In terms of future capital projects that have high costs, the survey found broad support, although it didn’t poll specific spending numbers.

  • 85% of residents were “very willing” or “willing” to have the Village address rising sea levels
  • 85% thought alleviating traffic was a high priority

Key Biscayne is ranked 54% higher than the state average as a place to live. This, and other general questions dealing with resident satisfaction with the village polled nearly identically in 2022 to 2020 and 2018. 

Council Member Luis Lauredo said the biennial report, which cost $25,000, wasn’t worth the money. 

“I don’t get any warm feelings comparing us to other cities,” he said. “We pay a lot of money to make this a good city.” 

“I think it’s important that we always hear our residents,” said Village Manager Steve Williamson, pushing back. “The information is very valuable to me and my staff. It helps us direct our efforts, our resources, and how we deal with the community.”

A copy of the summaries presented to the council member, as well as the full report and a breakdown of data by geography are available at the Village website.

Theo Miller is an intern reporter specializing in education, technology, politics, and the impacts those have on schools both on and off the Key. He is a graduate of MAST Academy. In Key Biscayne, he works in production with Crossbridge Church and the Anti-Social radio podcast, Often described as a full-time nerd, when he is not writing or in school, he loves cameras, cars, cooking, and cartoons.

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