Municipal government matters, primarily water, have replaced crime as the number one issue on the minds of Abbotsford residents, according to the latest citizen satisfaction survey.
A total of 18 per cent of the residents questioned mentioned municipal government services - particularly drinking water at 14 per cent - as the top of mind issue.
The other two city issues under that category were a desire for more responsible staff and leaders and garbage and recycling, both at two per cent.
Water surfaced as the primary issue in the municipal election in November 2011 when residents rejected the proposed P3 Stave Lake water project as a means to meet Abbotsford's future water needs.
Crime, along with taxation and municipal spending, tied as the number two concerns at 17 per cent for citizens, according to an Ipsos Reid telephone survey of 300 residents conducted between May 8 and 17, 2012.
Concerns about crime had previously topped the chart for the past two years with 25 per cent of residents polled citing it as top of mind in 2011, down from 38 per cent in 2010.
Formerly, Abbotsford was handed the moniker of murder capital in Canada twice in a row after recording 11 murders - most gang-related - in 2009 and four deaths in 2010.
However, the city has shed the infamous title following intensive anti-gang efforts by the Abbotsford Police and no murders in 2011, as well as solid drops in overall crime rates over the last couple of years.
But the topic of how the city spends tax dollars has remained more or less stable at number two for the past three years, although the percentage dropped from a high of 20 per cent recorded in 2011.
- Crime, taxation, spending tie for 2nd
- Transportation ranked 3rd
- Fewer say they get good value for taxes
The primary taxation/spending concerns focused on general issues at 10 per cent, property taxes at five per cent and subsidizing the Abbotsford Heat and balancing the budget at one per cent each.
Transportation, as in past years, followed closely behind the top three categories as a concern for 14 per cent of residents questioned.
Though a total of 69 per cent of residents stated they got very good or fairly good value for taxes, the number of people who feel they are getting a good deal for city services is on the decline for a third year in a row.
Seventy-two per cent of people surveyed responded that they received good value for taxes in 2011, down from 78 per cent in 2010.
Perhaps not surprisingly, an increasing number of people believe the city should cut services instead of increasing taxes.
Fifty-six per cent favoured cuts, up from 50 per cent in 2011 and 42 per cent the year before.
Those who'd be willing to favour tax increases in exchange for services dropped to 30 per cent, down from 35 per cent in 2011 and 45 per cent in 2010.
However, a total of 93 per cent of residents rated their quality of life as very good (29 per cent) or good (64 per cent).
That was a drop from a three-year high of a 96 per cent rating in 2011.
Residents cited lower crime rates and improved policing (30 per cent), growth and development (12 per cent) and more stores or shopping destinations (11 per cent) as reasons why life has improved in Abbotsford.
Those were somewhat mirrored by residents' reasons for why quality of life has worsened with crime getting 23 per cent, high taxes at 14 per cent and development at 13 per cent.
The survey questioned a randomly selected, representative sample of Abbotsford residents aged 18 years or older with overall results being accurate plus or minus 5.7 percentage points 19 times out of 20.