Daytonians happier with city conditions, but crime concerns remain

Dayton resident Janice Rodgers let her voice be heard when she voted in last year’s election, which featured the city’s proposed income tax hike that ultimately passed. STAFF
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Dayton resident Janice Rodgers let her voice be heard when she voted in last year’s election, which featured the city’s proposed income tax hike that ultimately passed. STAFF

Dayton residents are feeling better about the direction the city is headed, the city as a place to live and the quality of their neighborhoods, according to a data from a large citywide survey released this week.

Optimism among Dayton residents about local conditions has improved in some key areas, and residents have expressed increased satisfaction with city services and their handling of citizens’ issues.

“You have very solid numbers here in Dayton,” said Steve Raabe, president of Maryland firm OpinionWorks, which conducted the survey. “There is a good, strong sense that the direction of the city is a positive one.”

But challenges remain if Dayton is to keep more young people, especially those with families who worry about the quality of city schools.

Many residents still believe the city becomes unsafe at nightfall, and two-thirds of Daytonians are somewhat or very concerned about gun violence in their neighborhoods.

The city earlier this year mailed out 9,000 survey packets and received about 1,480 responses, and also residents could fill out surveys online.

Right, wrong direction

Exactly half of Dayton residents indicated they believe the city is moving in the right direction, up from 47 percent in 2016, the data show.

RELATED: Dayton’s income tax hike passes

One quarter of residents believe the city is headed in the wrong direction, down from about one in three residents in 2016.

Half of residents also say they are satisfied or very satisfied with Dayton as a place to live, which is slight uptick from last year.

Twenty-four percent said they are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with Dayton in this respect, which is unchanged from last year.

MORE: Survey shows room for improvement in Dayton parking

Taxes for services

Dayton voters last year approved the city’s first income tax hike in 32 years, which will pay for a variety of investments in pre-school education, infrastructure and service enhancements.

Despite higher taxes, 48 percent of Dayton residents believe the level of city services they receive for the taxes they pay is “reasonable,” which is 2 percentage points higher than last year, the survey shows.

About 36 percent of residents said the taxes are “too high” for the services they receive, which is down 4 percentage points from a year ago.

Daily drug transactions

But 46 percent of residents still feel unsafe at night in their neighborhoods, and nearly just as many feel unsafe in downtown when it gets dark.

One in five residents say they see drug transactions in their neighborhoods daily. One in seven say they see drug deals weekly.

About one in 10 residents have a child who attends the Dayton Public Schools. About 41 percent of people with children in the district are satisfied or very satisfied with the education their loved ones receive. About 36 percent are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Almost half of residents said they are less likely to raise a family in Dayton because of the quality of the public schools.

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