Sandy Springers seem to like their city, a new survey says.

The National Citizen Survey found that 90 percent of Sandy Springs residents rated the city “excellent” or “good” as a place to live and 81 percent said they were likely or very likely to remain in the community for the next five years.

The “good place to live rating” placed Sandy Springs 17th of the 52 communities of similar size that were surveyed, City Manager John McDonough told members of Sandy Springs City Council on Feb. 15.

Surveys were mailed to 1,800 Sandy Springs households in late 2010 and 313 were returned, the city said. McDonough said the survey had a 5 percent margin of error. “Comparable cities” were those with populations between 70,000 and 150,000 that participated in the survey.

“Of the 18 characteristics for which comparisons were available, five were above the national benchmark comparison, two were similar to the national benchmark comparison and 11 were below,” the study’s authors wrote. “Residents in the city of Sandy Springs were minimally civically engaged. …

“About three in 10 had volunteered their time to some group or activity in the city of Sandy Springs, which was much lower than the benchmark.”

Sandy Springs residents rated fire, police and ambulance services high.

Of the respondents, 94 percent rated fire department services excellent or good — second among 50 comparable cities – and 89 percent rated police services excellent or good – third among 56 comparable cities, Sandy Springs city officials reported.

Ambulance services were rated highly, as well, giving the ambulance service the top rating among 47 comparable cities, McDonough said.

The city’s “overall direction” was rated excellent or good by 89 percent of the residents surveyed, ranking the city third of 41 comparable cities, McDonough said.

“We are thrilled that our residents value the services that are provided to them,” said Mayor Eva Galambos.

But the survey did find areas where residents ranked the city low.

“All isn’t Utopia in Sandy Springs,” McDonough told the council members. “We have our challenges.”

Those challenges include traffic and transportation.

Sandy Springs ranked 37 of 38 comparable cities on ease of car travel and 37 of 37 in ease of bicycle travel, the city manager said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.