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Shopping locally is a smart choice

TRI-COUNTY AREA—You can get more from your money by shopping at local stores this holiday season.
Consider the benefits of shopping in the area: unique personal gifts, dealing with the business owner, keeping the tax dollars in the area, and saving time and gas. Small shops are located throughout the area in towns and villages. Offerings range from manufactured goods to one-of-a-kind handcrafts.
Very often the price comparisons are favorable to similar items in city stores. This is particularly true when factoring in the cost of travel and the need to purchase a meal during extended trips out of town.
Yates County Chamber of Commerce President Michael Linehan called shopping locally “critically important.” At the recent public hearing on the Yates County budget, Linehan recalled people saying a 2.4 percent increase in property taxes was too much. Linehan said, “One way people can make a difference is to shop locally. I don’t remember a time it has been so apparent that it is so important.” Sales tax revenue can help modify the impact of property taxes.
Yates’s sales and use tax revenue in 2009 was just under $9 million and a similar amount is expected by the end of 2010. The county projects a 1.11 percent increase in 2011.
“That’s how the county government gets funds,” said Kelsey Jones, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development executive director. “It’s distributed to the villages and towns.”
Jones added the vast majority of people can find what they are looking for in the county. He said it might not always be at the downtown stores, though.
Rebekah LaMoreaux, president of the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, said more people shopping increases the incentives for other businesses to open as well. She added existing businesses can also reinvest in the community. LaMoreaux said if money is tight, a business will of course focus on immediate needs and bills first.
Overall, she added that if local businesses have more traffic, they would be encouraged to stay open longer. She also brought up the sales tax revenue benefits for the county. LaMoreaux explained the funds go towards services and stays within Schuyler.
Of course, shopping locally can benefit Schuyler year round. County Administrator Tim O’Hearn said the anticipated total sales tax revenue for 2011 is projected to be around $9 million. He said that if during the whole year there was just a 10 percent increase in shopping locally, it could equal an additional $500,000 and $600,000 in sales tax revenue.




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