A significant percentage of residents think their local property taxes are an issue, according to results of New Albany's recent community survey.
Of those surveyed, 27 percent listed taxes, especially property taxes, as the top issue when listing the two highest priorities for city officials. Twenty-three percent said maintaining quality and safety at school was the most important issue.
Other issues listed included traffic, community expansion, school overcrowding, maintaining safety and apartment growth.
Property taxes also were a top issue in another survey question, when participants were asked to identify whether property taxes, traffic, too few housing options for millennials and too few housing options for empty nesters were major problems, minor problems or not a problem.
Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said property taxes were a problem, with 56 percent saying it was a major problem and 33 percent saying it was a minor problem. Traffic followed, with 53 percent of those surveyed identifying it as a problem.
Annual property taxes for households in New Albany were $2,729.60 per $100,000 of property value, according to New Albany's 2017 annual report.
The property-tax revenue goes to a variety of agencies, according to the report: the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools, the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Franklin County Children's Services, the Franklin County general fund, the Franklin County Office on Aging, the New Albany-Plain Local School District, the New Albany-Plain Local Joint Parks District, the city of New Albany and the Plain Township Fire Department.
The school district receives the greatest share.
Rebecca Jenkins, New Albany-Plain Local's treasurer, said the total voted property-tax millage in New Albany is 112.89 mills. The school district's voted millage is 72.34 mills and the effective collection rate is 57.68 mills, she said.
About the survey
A total of 316 New Albany residents were contacted at random via telephone interviews, according to a May 15 presentation to New Albany City Council by Martin Saperstein of Saperstein Associates.
The youngest participants were 18 to 24 and the oldest were 65 or older; they were from all seven of the city's wards.
Saperstein's survey cost the city $19,600, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.
The calls for the survey were made in February, he said.
The previous city survey was in 2013, said City Manager Joe Stefanov. City officials prefer to conduct a community survey every three or four years or so, he said.
"You want to be able to see some trends," he said.
The survey affirmed that many of the city's efforts are producing the desired results, Stefanov said.
"I think it was a very productive tool," he said.
For their next steps, city leaders could hold community forums, produce targeted microsurveys and conduct surveys after residents' interactions with police or city departments to learn more about the topics discussed in the survey, Stefanov said.
Most residents said New Albany was a good place to live, with 61 percent rating the city as "excellent" and 30 percent rating it as "very good."
Eighty-three percent agreed the city is heading in the right direction. However, the percentage was lower -- 73 percent -- in residents ages 55 or older.
Almost all respondents said New Albany was a safe community: 99 percent said they felt safe living in New Albany, with 86 percent agreeing strongly that they felt safe and 13 percent agreeing somewhat.
Similarly, police protection was the highest-rated city service with which residents were satisfied. A total of 96 percent of those surveyed indicated satisfaction, with 83 percent saying they were very satisfiedand 14 percent saying they were somewhat satisfied.
Communication with city officials was an area in which the city rated lower.
A total of 61 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with city officials' ability to seek input and feedback from residents and 56 percent said they were satisfied with city officials listening to concerns of residents before making important decisions.
As part of the communication questions about where residents got most of their information about New Albany, 32 percent said their go-to source was the ThisWeek New Albany News. It was the highest percentage among nine responses. The second-most popular response, at 20 percent, was the city's e-newsletter.
Residents also were asked for feedback on such amenities as those in Market Square and the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.
Fifty-eight percent of residents said Market Square and the village center have too few family-friendly, casual dining restaurants.
Attendance at the McCoy primarily was for school functions among those surveyed.
Twenty-two percent said they have attended three or more McCoy events unrelated to the New Albany-Plain Local School District and 31 percent said they attended one or two nonschool events in the past year.