Arts, parks not seen as a top priority in Mecklenburg County survey

Arts, parks not found as a top priority in Mecklenburg County survey

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 2019 Mecklenburg County Community Survey presented to Mecklenburg County commissioners found affordable housing is the top issue on the minds of residents.

This is the 17th year of the survey. The survey was administered by mail, web and phone. A total of 1,033 people participated and the margin of error is +/- 3 percent.

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The survey comes as Mecklenburg County voters are weighing the decision whether to raise the sales tax by a quarter of a cent. The sales tax increase will benefit primarily the Arts and Science Council and parks. Arts and parks did not register as a top priority on the Mecklenburg County survey.

The open-ended question asked, "in your opinion, what's the most important issue facing Mecklenburg County today?"

According to the survey, 24 percent said affordable housing. Crime, infrastructure and schools received 14 percent each.

In response to the survey's findings, Commissioner Pat Cotham, an opponent of the tax, posted on Twitter, "what, not the arts??"

This is the final quarter cent sales tax that Mecklenburg County voters can have if it is approved. To raise the sales tax more, an act from the General Assembly would be needed.

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Susan Harden, one of the leaders of the campaign, said she is not concerned about the survey's findings.

"It didn't appear in that priority, but we know that in Liveable Meck, it certainly did show up," Harden said. "We have different surveys that show different results."

The Liveable Meck progress report presented earlier this month to commissioners called for increased access to arts and science and expanded options for parks.

There was a question on parks in the survey. It found that 84 percent of respondents visited a park in the past year.

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