City Notes: Remember the importance of shopping locally

By Tim Fox, Executive Director, Charles City Area Development Corp.

The Iowa Department of Revenue has released its “Retail Sales and Use Tax Annual Report” for fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016, through 30 June 30, 2017). Retail sales figures are often used as an indicator of overall economic vitality of a county or region.

Tim Fox
Tim Fox

Floyd County retail sales were $119.37 million in 2017, a decrease of less than 1 percent from 2016. Actual 2017 sales were down about $371,000.

Fiscal Year 2017 Retail Sales Report

City — 2017 Sales — 2016 Sales — +/- in Dollars — +/- %

Charles City — $93,422,291 — $94,675,065 — -$1,252,774 — -1.32%

Nora Springs — $5,937,396 — $5,946,116v-$8,720 — -0.15%

Rockford — $2,902,964 — $2,664,614 — +238,350 — +8.95%

Floyd — $9,398,789 — $9,020,725 — +378,064 — +4.19%

Rudd — $1,122,230 — $1,262,942 — -$140,712 — -11.14%

Marble Rock — $1,861,963 — $2,394,627 — -$532,664 — -22.24%

Other — $4,724,269 — $3,776,664 — +$947,605 — +25.09%

TOTAL  —  $119,369,902 — $119,740,753 — -$370,851 — -0.31%

— Iowa Department of Revenue

Retail sales for the state of Iowa grew by slightly more than 1 percent in 2017. Undoubtedly Floyd County’s falling retail sales and the state’s stagnant sales can in part be attributed to lower commodity prices. Agricultural producers spend a great deal of money in times good and bad, but with less disposable income overall one would expect sales to be stifled.

Taxable sales in 2017 in other counties in the region: Butler $62.47 million; Bremer $201.30 million; Cerro Gordo $730.16 million; Chickasaw $90.90 million; Franklin $76.97 million; Grundy $68.12 million; Hancock $83.58 million; Howard $80.88 million; Mitchell $71.98 million; Winnebago $88.28 million; Worth $45.15 million; Wright $91.44 million.

You can help influence these numbers by shopping at home. Keep dollars local in the form of supporting local retailers and generating Local Option Sales Tax [LOST]. Cities depend on Local Option dollars to fund projects; dollars which if not garnered via LOST necessarily come from other revenue streams.

I fully realize the difficulties retailers encounter in rural counties. I am as guilty of anyone in buying items on the internet I perhaps could buy locally. I also know the inconvenience of living in a town without a gas station/convenience store.

Retailers in Floyd County employ around 800 persons, pay property taxes and work long hours. We owe them our support in directly benefiting each of us in Floyd County.

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