Updated 02/14/2012 09:42 PM
Lewis County survey helping local leaders
Leaders in Lewis County will be debating several important economic issues over the upcoming year and now have data on the community's wishes to help guide their decision-making process. Our Amanda Kelley gives us some of the highlights from the county's annual survey and explains why it's so useful to this community.
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LEWIS COUNTY, N.Y. -- After hundreds of phone calls and more than 400 phone surveys, Lewis County now can clearly see how residents feel about important issues in their community.
The annual survey reveals many positive responses about life in Lewis County, but one issue still has families struggling.
Center for Community Studies Professor Dr. Raymond Petersen said, "The plurality of responses is that the local economy is in poor shape. The availability of good jobs is poor."
More than 72 questions asked by JCC students track quality of life issues throughout the county, something that's become a key tool for local leaders.
County Legislature Chairman Jack Bush said, "I listen to what those folks have to say and look it over and see what the folks in the communities approve of, what they disapprove of and try and govern my voting and what not from their wishes."
Petersen said, "It's really important. Very helpful for them to have this sort of information. They can do data-driven decision making based upon where there's public support."
Right now county leaders have a five and a half to one margin of support to acquire the right of ways for several railroad crossings throughout the area as well as high support for wind energy development. Both items that are on the horizon for legislators.
Bush said, "The wind power right now, there are 39 towers that if they are going to be built are going to be built south of Maple Ridge and that will bring certainly more pilot money into the county and the school and the town of Martinsburg is all a plus."
While the survey continues to guide important decisions for the county it's also continuing to help those students who spend hours on the project.
Petersen said, "Students are getting this incredible hands-on experience with development of the projects and development of the surveys."
Making this unique project one that's become an integral part of the community for years to come.
To read the survey, visit www.sunyjefferson.edu.