Last updated: September 05. 2013 9:49AM - 95 Views

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Some problems have complex, convoluted solutions. They require extensive strategic planning and implementation of multi-level programs to ensure success. Others require simple efforts carried out by everyday citizens.

The latter is the case with the 16.96 percent drop in revenue from Sedalia’s city sales tax, as well as the 4.9 percent year-to-date decline in Pettis County’s sales tax take, which was reported last weekend by the Democrat’s Emily Jarrett. The solution: Shop locally.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ilsr.org) offers several points about the value of shopping at locally-owned small businesses, including:

• Locally owned businesses build neighborhoods by sustaining communities, linking neighbors and by contributing more to local causes.

• Dollars spent in locally-owned businesses have three times the impact on the community as dollars spent at national chains. When shopping locally, residents simultaneously create jobs, fund more city services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development.

• A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

During Wednesday night’s candidate forum sponsored by KSIS radio and the Democrat, Western Commissioner candidate Jim Marcum expressed frustration with county residents who complain about the condition of our roads as they are driving out of the area to do their shopping. Making those purchases here would add to our local tax base, which feeds the Road and Bridge Department fund.

A big chunk of the city’s 16.96 percent falloff is attributed to an unnamed (by law) local business, so the picture isn’t as bleak as it may seem on the surface. City Finance Director Pam Burlingame told Jarrett: “We’ve done some research which shows that particular business has had ups and downs like this before. We were fearful that this was a down trend, but that’s not necessarily the case.”

Pettis County Presiding Commissioner John Meehan expressed more concern, pointing out that the $163,000 dip, if trends continue, would translate to an annual decline of $326,000, “which is a significant amount of money,” he said.

Pumping dollars into the local economy simply by shopping here is a solid strategy for supporting our neighbors; small business owners benefit from the product and service sales, and the tax income fuels municipal funds that are used for vital services, including public safety.

So put off that trip to Columbia, Osage Beach or Independence and take a closer look at what our local merchants have to offer, then have lunch at a restaurant you haven’t frequented in a while. You’ll save gas money and help keep dollars in Sedalia and Pettis County.

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