Survey: Lewis County Feels Good About Economy, Worries About DrugsPosted: Updated:
People in Lewis County feel better than ever about the state of the local economy, but are most worried about the drug epidemic. That's according to the 11th Annual Lewis County Survey of the Community.
The survey was released Tuesday by the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College.
The survey is an inventory of the attitudes and opinions of a representative sample of Lewis County adult residents, and has been completed by the center each October in the county since 2007.
According to the survey, residents feel better than ever (at least since year 2007) regarding the cost of energy, real estate taxes, the overall state of the local economy, and the availability of good jobs. As one example, in 2011 among local residents 57% rated the availability of good jobs locally as “Poor”, while in 2017 this rate is only 34%, the lowest rate measured in 11 years of surveying.
When local residents are asked the largest issue facing the residents of Lewis County in 2017, responses have dramatically changed from that which were recorded 3-4 years ago among county residents. There has been a tremendous shift from economic concern to a concern with the current local drug epidemic. For example, in 2013 among county residents 61% cited the “jobs and the economy” as the largest local issue – a rate that has halved to 32% in 2017, and a rate that no longer represents the most commonly cited issue. During this same time frame the rate of citing “drugs” as the largest issue facing residents of Lewis County has increased from 4% to 40%.
Currently 90% of residents indicate that their personal financial situation has remained at least the same or improved in the past year (21% improved, 69% remained same), while only 9% indicate that this situation has gotten worse. This 90% rate is by far the greatest found in ten years of posing this question to adults in the county, and represents a 10% increase from that which was found in 2016 in the county.
The Maple Ridge Wind Farm went online in Lewis County in 2006. Survey questions measuring public sentiment regarding possible future expansions of the wind farm have been asked in this Annual Survey in each of 2007, 2008, and again in this 2017 study. Residents are overwhelmingly in support of further expansion, with rates of responding “should expand” during these three studies of 77%, 79%, and 78%, respectively. The “should not expand” rates during these three studies have been 16%, 14%, and currently is measured at 12%.