Chamber campaign urges locals to keep dollars in New Castle | PostIndependent.com
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Chamber campaign urges locals to keep dollars in New Castle

A marketing effort spearheaded by three New Castle Chamber of Commerce representatives is informing town residents about the positive impacts of buying locally.Working with town of New Castle and the chamber, chamber treasurer Pam Johnson, member Kurt Cross and secretary Jann Mills have developed a marketing campaign that shows locals how sales tax revenues are benefiting their community.For each purchase made in New Castle, the town receives a 3.5 percent sales tax. Out of that, 1 percent is earmarked for street improvements, a half percent is dedicated to parks, open space and trails, and the remaining 2 percent goes into the town’s general fund. New Castle resident Johnson, owner of Johnson Park Miniature Golf in West Glenwood, received a mailing from Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association that revealed sales tax revenues for Glenwood Springs as well as several neighboring towns. “New Castle’s sales tax revenues had doubled from 1999 to 2001,” she said. “When I saw those numbers, I said `Holy cow!’ We need to get this information out to the general public and let them see what an effect buying locally has on our community,” she said.According to New Castle town administrator Steve Rippy, those tax revenues are indeed impressive. Prior to 1997, when City Market opened a supermarket in town, sales tax revenues hovered around $100,000. Last year’s revenues were $650,000. This year’s revenues are projected to be around $674,000.Initially, Johnson didn’t know exactly what to do with the information. She got Glenwood chamber director Marianne Virgili’s consent to reprint the New Castle statistics, and chamber members decided to promote the town’s windfall by encouraging locals to buy local through signage and brochures.”We got blank metal real estate signs and printed them with `Your Local Sales Tax Dollars at Work,'” Johnson said. “We gave them to Steve (Rippy) who planted them around town in front of various projects.”Rippy has a lot of projects from which to choose. During 2001-2002, sales tax revenues funded improvements to Burning Mountain Park, including new playground equipment, installation of new sod and basketball court repairs; installation of park benches and park development in Mattivi Plaza; the addition of planters along Main Street in downtown New Castle and at the junction of Highway 6&24 and Castle Valley Boulevard; and street and sidewalk overlays and replacements. “We choose projects based on a list of improvements we need to make,” said Rippy. “What we look for are ways to make the community more attractive, not only for customers and residents, but for potential businesses that may be able to take up some of the vacant commercial spaces we have.”Next in line is a series of soccer fields for the more than 350 local youth involved in soccer, and a pedestrian bridge linking Seventh Street to Riverside Middle School. According to Johnson, the chamber’s wish list for the future includes a community pool. Another way the chamber is informing locals of sales tax impacts is through a tri-folded brochure that City Market manager and chamber member Kurt Cross offered to stuff into City Market shopping bags. “I don’t know if people realize what happens when they shop outside their own community,” Cross said. “Every time locals go somewhere else to buy something, they’re beautifying someone else’s town besides New Castle. These improvement projects are making New Castle that much stronger.”Johnson said that through the signage and brochures, New Castle citizens may start thinking twice before heading to Grand Junction to do their shopping.”People need to think about how much money they’re really saving by going to Grand Junction to shop,” she said. “When you consider the wear and tear on your car, the time it takes, and the fact that the tax you pay there pays for their trail system and not ours, is it really worth it?”You may pay a minuscule amount more if you opt to go to Mr. T’s (hardware store in New Castle), but in the long run, residents need to look at what they get in return.”


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