Rising cost of housing dominates Decatur community survey results
Decatur residents are worried that they will no longer be able to afford to live in the city, according to the results of a recent survey.
The city of Decatur’s Lifelong Community Advisory Board will discuss the results of its 2014 Lifelong Decatur Survey on June 18 at 6:30 p.m. The presentation will be held at the Decatur Recreation Center, located at 231 Sycamore St.
A total of 638 people took part in the online survey. Among the highlights from the report published by the city:
– The survey found 80 percent of respondents plan to remain in the city.
– “Many of the people who completed the survey recognized that external factors might impact their ability to continue to live in Decatur and in particular their ability to remain in their current home,” the report says. “The most significant future challenges were no longer having the ability to physically maintain their home (48 percent); no longer financially able to afford their home (47 percent ); and when their health fails (38 percent).”
– The report says 86 people provided follow-up comments about what would keep them from remaining in their homes. The survey said 23 percent of the comments “were related to the impact of taxes on the affordability of living in Decatur.”
– The survey found 308 respondents deemed a variety of housing options “absolutely essential” for the city, but it ranked fifth on the list of must-haves. A total of 398 respondents said “connected and safe sidewalks” are absolutely essential, and it was No. 1 on the list.
– The city received 156 responses to its last question, an open-ended query about other thoughts or ideas not covered in the survey. Certain themes dominated these responses, the report found. At the top of the list presented in the report, residents want the city to, “Address concerns that Decatur is becoming unaffordable for many fixed income residents and retirees due to high taxes, as well as work to keep Decatur an affordable and diverse City for all income levels and to retain its history.”
The survey results come as the City Commission is facing increased pressure from residents over high taxes. During the June 15 City Commission meeting, former Mayor Elizabeth Wilson told commissioners she might not be able to afford Decatur much longer. The recent round of tax assessments from DeKalb County projects total property values in Decatur are will grow by 20 percent over last year.
Read more: Here are the full survey results, provided by the city of Decatur.