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Center for Community Studies at JCC Releases Annual Lewis County Survey of the Community

The Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College released the complete findings of the Sixth Annual Lewis County Survey of the Community at a meeting of the Lewis County Board of Legislators on Tuesday, March 5, 2013. 

The survey is an inventory of the attitudes and opinions of a representative sample of Lewis County residents. The primary goal of the survey is to collect data regarding quality of life issues of importance to local citizens.

Working under the supervision of the Center for Community Studies research staff, statistics students at the College completed 421 telephone interviews on the evenings of October 15 and 16, 2012.

Highlights of this year’s survey include:

  • Lewis County residents continue to be very satisfied with the overall quality of life in the area, with 77% of residents rating it as either “Excellent” or “Good.”
  • Residents report the highest levels of satisfaction with the following aspects of the county: quality of the environment, quality of K-12 education, public outdoor recreational opportunities, health care quality and the overall quality of life.
  • Residents report the most dissatisfaction with: the availability of good jobs, the cost of energy, real estate taxes, and the overall state of the local economy.
  • Residents of Lewis County in 2012 were significantly more positive about the “Overall State of the Local Economy”. Participants who rated this aspect either excellent or good increased from 19% in 2011 to 30% in 2012. Correspondingly, the percentage who rated the “Overall State of the Local Economy” as poor decreased from 43% to 30% between 2011 and 2012.
  • Residents of Lewis County indicated by over a three-to-one margin that they wanted the Lewis County General Hospital to remain county-owned (58%), as compared to the 17% who answered they wanted the hospital to become a non-profit, not-county owned hospital. Current and former hospital employees overwhelmingly prefer that it remain county-owned (79%), as opposed to its becoming a nonprofit hospital that is not owned by the county (8%). Even if the results from the current and former hospital employees were removed, there would still be a three-to-one preference for the hospital remaining county-owned.
  • While nearly three out of ten respondents answered Don’t Know, 53% of survey respondents expressed support for a direct budget appropriation from the county to subsidize hospital operations, with 24% supporting up to $500,000, 23% expressing support for $500,000 to $1,000,000 annually, and 6% supporting over $1,000,000 annually.
  • Residents were equally divided on the question of whether school districts of Lewis County should consider consolidating with neighboring school districts, with 48% saying yes and 45% saying no.
  • By about a 16-to-1 margin, residents responded that the New York State aid cuts would make public school education quality worse. An additional 19% indicated that the cuts would have no effect on education quality.

The entire 67-question survey, including a summary of the results and the complete survey instrument, is available on the Jefferson Community College website under Center for Community Studies by clicking on ‘Annual Survey.’

For more information, please contact Dr. Raymond Petersen, Director of the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College, 315-786-2488.